Official sample ballots for Los Angeles' May 21 election will be available April 22, a little less than two weeks from now. Voters who just want to get the whole thing over with — and let's be frank, don't we all? — can actually vote by mail that very same day by getting their super-early ballot directly from the city clerk.
And that's fine for voters who are ready to roll on their runoff choices for mayor, city attorney, controller, Community College Board and (depending on their districts) City Council and school board. They may miss out on the pleasures of hearing even more debates and poring over glossy campaign mailers, but that's the way it goes.
But what about the ballot measures? There are four of them, and most voters will have their first opportunity to read the measures when they get their sample ballots. That's too late in the process for people who want to do their election homework and still vote early.
Three of the measures deal with medical marijuana dispensaries. To know what they would do and how they differ, it's important to be able to read the (admittedly lengthy) wording of the ordinances they would put into effect. For those who don't want to read the entire texts, there are also impartial summaries from the chief legislative analyst about the effect of each measure and from the city administrative officer about the financial impacts. There are the arguments for and against the measures, and the rebuttals to those arguments. There is a fourth measure, presenting an advisory question on campaign finance reform that urges a constitutional amendment intended to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.