June 5 primary: What’s on your ballot in Berkeley?

UC Berkeley students line up to vote in 2016. Photo: Ted Friedman

As indicated by mailboxes overflowing with campaign advertisements, the 2018 primary election is around the corner. With upwards of 20 items on Berkeleyans’ ballots — including a single regional race with 11 candidates and statewide races with more than 20 — some voters might still be uncertain which boxes to check Tuesday.

Here’s a look back at Berkeleyside’s coverage of the Assembly District 15 race, and where to find information on what else you’ll encounter at the polls.

The race to replace Tony Thurmond — who’s vacating his Assembly seat to run for state Superintendent of Public Instruction — is stacked. Some of the many candidates spoke at a Berkeley Progressive Alliance forum in February, discussing their often similar positions on housing, education and other issues. Two Berkeley officials, the School Board’s Judy Appel and City Councilman Ben Bartlett, are in the running. A third official whose jurisdiction includes Berkeley, the EBMUD board’s Andy Katz, is running too.

The race has attracted nearly $2 million in campaign contributions, as of the final reporting period, with Buffy Wicks, a former Obama campaign director and White House staffer, far outraising her opponents with $656,600 from 1,225 donors. Appel has raised the second highest amount, $279,191, from 557 contributors. Some of the donors and political action committees pouring money into the race have drawn some scrutiny. Independent expenditure committees have spent heavily to support some candidates.


Berkeleyside has republished KQED’s audio profiles of each Assembly candidate. They are: Appel, Bartlett, Richmond Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles, UC Berkeley student Pranav Jandhyala, Oakland Councilman Dan Kalb, Katz, El Cerrito Councilwoman Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, software engineer Sergey Piterman, compliance officer and activist Cheryl Sudduth, Homeless Action Center attorney Raquella Thaman, and Wicks. Writer Owen Poindexter will appear on the primary ballot but has said he is no longer actively running.

At the same February forum featuring the AD15 candidates, the two women running for District Attorney made their cases to Berkeley voters. Incumbent Nancy O’Malley, running on a victims’-rights platform, said she first ran for the office to prosecute sexual assault, and is the only candidate with the requisite experience. Civil rights attorney Pamela Price, running on a police-accountability and anti-mass-incarceration platform, is angling to unseat O’Malley and reform the county’s criminal justice system and racial disparities.

At the county level, Berkeley voters will also select an assessor and an auditor. Sherrif Gregory Ahern is running for reelection unopposed, as is Treasurer Hank Levy.

In February, a number of candidates running for Assembly District 15 made pitches to progressive groups in Berkeley. From left: Dan Kalb, Cheryl Sudduth, Jovanka Beckles, Judy Appel, Owen Poindexter (now withdrawn), Andy Katz, Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto and Ben Bartlett. Buffy Wicks had a family emergency and could not attend. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

Also on the ballot are candidates for Governor, to succeed the termed-out Jerry Brown, and Lieutenant Governor. Senator Dianne Feinstein is running for reelection against 31 other candidates, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee is running unopposed. Voters will also mark their choices for Secretary of State, state Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, State Board of Equalization representative, Controller, Judge and Superintendent of Public Instruction as well.

In applicable races, two candidates will make it past the primary to the November 6 election.

With the county Measure A, voters will decide whether to approve a new half-cent sales tax to expand access to childcare and preschool, and boost wages in those fields, for the next 30 years. Regional Measure 3 would increase Bay Area bridge tolls by $3, incrementally through 2025, to fund 35 public transportation and anti-congestion projects.

There are five statewide measures on the ballot as well.


Voters who want more information on the candidates and measures, or who live outside Berkeley, can find it on Voter’s Edge California, an online tool from Berkeley-based MapLight and the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund. For those whose sample ballots got buried under all those campaign mailers, the same information is available on the Alameda County election site.

Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, or delivered anytime until 8 p.m. that day via the 24-hour drop-off box in front of City Hall at 2180 Milvia Street.

If you’re unsure where your polling place is, contact the Alameda County Registrar of Voters at 510-272-6973.

Correction: This story originally said mail-in ballot can be sent in up to three days after the election; they must be received by then, but have to be postmarked by Election Day.