Central San Joaquin Valley voters have seen longer ballots.
Still, the one that early voters are plowing through now -- the same one many more will face in polling booths Tuesday -- could be daunting, with upwards of 20 choices in some precincts.
And that could possibly spell trouble for the local initiatives that will likely be the last choices a voter makes -- if they even make it that far.
"The longer the ballot, the more dropoff you have at the end," said Fresno County Supervisor Susan Anderson, a former county clerk and election supervisor. "It's just too much."
A voter in the 100 block of West Harvard Avenue in central Fresno, for instance, will weigh in on six political races, including president, Assembly, U.S. Senate and Fresno Unified school board, as well as 14 ballot measures.
One of those is Measure B, which asks voters to renew a one-eighth-cent sales tax to pay for Fresno County libraries.
The tax was approved in 1998, renewed in 2004 and now is up for a 16-year renewal. It requires two-thirds passage to continue.
"We stress that you've got to go to the bottom of the ballot," Fresno County Librarian Laurel Prysiazny said. "One of those things you hear about is voter fatigue. I get why (the ballot) is arranged the way it is. It makes perfect sense. But at the same time, it puts more pressure on us to educate people to make sure they go to the bottom of the ballot."
Measure B supporters have even tailored some of the campaign to encourage voters not to quit voting before they get to the question. Besides pushing the "B" in Measure B as "book," Prysiazny said, there has also been a push to remember it for "bottom" -- as in the bottom of the ballot.
After they get through 11 state propositions and two Fresno County measures, voters in the city of Fresno have one more measure to consider.
That city initiative -- Measure F -- would amend Fresno's city charter by establishing specific budget reserves, creating a management policy to limit the city's bonded indebtedness and requiring that a comprehensive review be undertaken when $1 million in city funds are being requested.
It's not easy reading. City Council Member Lee Brand, one of the prime sponsors of the ballot measure, said he worries that voters may take the well-documented stance of voting "no" on something they don't understand.
But Brand's not worried about voters leaving the measure blank. He said he figures that those who take the time to read up on Measure F will vote "yes" and those who leave it blank because they didn't get to the end of the ballot probably would have voted "no" anyway.
As long as the ballot is this year, it could have been longer.
It is 14 inches long, when it often can fit on an 11-inch card. Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth recalled once using an 18-inch ballot.
What election officials never want to do is have a ballot so long that two pieces of paper are required. They've even made the type smaller in the past to save space.
Voters say preparation is critical.
Fresno resident Rodger Ward read over the ballot, then went back over the ballot initiatives that were more challenging.
"You've got to separate the wheat from the chaff, and there's a lot of chaff," Ward said.
Fresno resident Roy Buchman agreed. He read his sample ballot and listened closely to television commercials to "be as informed as could be."
Because they were prepared, both Buchman and Ward said the ballot didn't feel overwhelming.
Said Ward: "If you are a responsible voter, you take the time it takes to vote."
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