Data Tracker

California’s voter guide: Longer than ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ shorter than ‘Crime and Punishment’

The cover of the California Official Voter Information Guide.
The cover of the California Official Voter Information Guide. Sacramento

Have you read your official California Voter Information Guide yet? You should probably get started: It’s going to take awhile.

With 17 propositions on the ballot, this year’s voter guide ​– printed by the secretary of state​’s office​ and mailed to millions of households – runs 225 pages and is about 181,000 words long.​ ​The hefty mailer includes analyses from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, arguments for and against propositions, candidates’ statements and the formal text for all those propositions.

Most people can read about 200 words per minute. At that speed, it ​would take about 15 hours to finish the whole thing.​ ​(Alternatively, you could check out The Sacramento Bee Voter Guide, which ​offers a streamlined summary of the races at about one-fifth the size.)

The ​state ​guide cost about $15 million to produce, print and mail. ​This chart compares the number of words in the California Voter Information Guide with the number of words in several works of literature.


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Phillip Reese: 916-321-1137, @PhillipHReese

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