Capitol Alert

California schools chief race is hot, but will voters find it?

Alexandra Peace sorts voters’ paperwork at the registrar's office in South Sacramento on June 2, 2014.
Alexandra Peace sorts voters’ paperwork at the registrar's office in South Sacramento on June 2, 2014. jvillegas@sacbee.com

The race for state superintendent of public instruction between incumbent Tom Torlakson and challenger Marshall Tuck is one of the hottest in California this fall – it has drawn $14 million in outside spending – but you may have trouble finding it when it comes time to vote.

Despite being one of eight statewide elected offices, California’s nonpartisan schools chief is a down-ballot contest – way, way down-ballot. In Sacramento County this year, it doesn’t appear until the end of the second page.

“That is strictly dictated by the elections code,” said Neal Kelley, president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.

A 1994 law determining ballot order placed the state superintendent after not just the other seven constitutional offices, but also after contests for the Board of Equalization, Congress, the state Legislature and even judgeships.

Many voters never make it that far. The state superintendent race received only 87.6 percent as many votes as governor in the June primary. It was just 76.7 percent in the 2010 general election.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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