Election 2016 — Reading Level

Election 2016

California Voter Guide Reading Level Analysis

In my previous post I stated that I was thinking of doing an analysis of the reading level of the California Voter Information Guide. Well, I’ve carried through on my threat.

election voter information guide for californiaI am not a reading teacher nor a statistician, but I have used the Grammar Analysis tools available in various editions of MS Word to analyze the textbooks I have used as well as many of my assignments, tests and notes to both students and parents.

This involves either the typing or a Copy/Paste of the text to be analyzed into a MS Word document and then running the Spelling and Grammar check on the selected text.

MS Word gives you two measures of reading levels: (and, no, they do not move in lock-step with each other)

  • The first, Flesch Reading Ease, gives a number which indicates how easy or difficult the text is to read. A high number indicates the text is easy to read and a low number indicates that the text is difficult to read.
  • The second, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, gives a number which indicates the grade level difficulty of the text.

As an example, the text above has a Flesch Reading Ease number of 57.3 and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 11.1 with my edition of MS Word. (Word for Mac 2011)

In doing my analysis I used the on-line edition of the 2016 California Voter Information Guide which is available at: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/

The MS Word document I created to do the analysis came to some thirty-two pages in length and I am not going to post it to this blog.

Analysis — The California Secretary of State’s Letter to California Voters

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        47.6
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         9.9

Analysis — Quick Reference Guide to Proposition 51 (School Bonds)

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        36.2
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         10.9

Analysis — Quick Reference Guide Proposition 64 (Marijuana Legalization)

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        32.6
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         11.6

Analysis — Analysis of the Legislative Analyst of Proposition 51

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        36.2
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         12.0

Analysis — Analysis of the Legislative Analyst of Proposition 64

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        30.7
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         12.0

Analysis — Argument in Favor of Proposition 51

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        41.6
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         10.6

Analysis — Argument Against Proposition 51

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        48.3
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         9.7

Analysis — Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Proposition 51

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        58.2
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         7.4

Analysis — Rebuttal to the Argument Against Proposition 51

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        52.1
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         8.3

Analysis — Argument in Favor of Proposition 64

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        30.8
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         12.0

Analysis — Argument Against Proposition 64

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        38.5
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         12.0

Analysis — Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Proposition 64

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        33.5
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         12.0

Analysis — Rebuttal to the Argument Against Proposition 64

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        39.2
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         11.4

Analysis — Text of the first three paragraphs of Section 2 of the proposed law (Prop 64)

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        19.5
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         12.0

Analysis — Kamala D. Harris Candidate Statement (Senator)

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        45.8
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         11.5

Analysis — Loretta L. Sanchez Candidate Statement (Senator)

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        41.2
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         12.0

Analysis — California Voter Bill of Rights

  • Flesch Reading Ease:                        62.9
  • Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level:         8.6


As I stated earlier I am not a credentialed reading teacher nor am I statistician. I am an American citizen and voter with an interest in our current election and our nation’s future.

election bannerThe above “analysis” is not scientific; it is personal. I have taken what I believe to be representative sections of the Voter Information Guide and subjected them to an easy to use and verify reading level analysis. Other tools and sections may (and probably will) give different results.

If you are interested in the California Voter Information Guide, it is available at: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/

If you are interested in analyzing reading levels, there are numerous articles available on-line via any search engine.

If you wish to analyze any of the California Voter Information Guide for yourself, MS Word’s Grammar Check is easy to use. I do not know the status of reading level checks available on other currently available word processors.

If you are concerned about the “average” American being able to read the California Voter Information Guide you might start here: https://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93275.pdf   —   It’s a 2003 document and I don’t know if there is a more recent study available.


You might just enter: “average reading level of the American voter” or something like it into your search engine.

And, please, remember that your vote counts just the same as that of Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton (and just the same as that person you think is an idiot who lives down the street) so: VOTE!election - register to vote

Best Wishes for an “interesting” election season. Ho, ho, ho . . .

Election 2016

Election Cats

A few thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Election

Yesterday, my copy of Orange County’s Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet arrived containing quite a bit of information.

The beginning was devoted to how, when and where I can vote. I’ve been voting Absentee / Vote-by-Mail for the last few elections. I can fill out my ballot at home in peace and quiet, without any lines, and drop my ballot at my neighborhood fire station, which is just a couple of minutes of walking down the street. I used to drop it off at the polling place in the auditorium of the school at which I was teaching.Election Cats

One page showed the endorsements of the Democratic, Republican, and American Independent parties on the Senatorial, Congressional and State Legislature races.

Another explained items concerning the Presidential (party-nominated offices), California Top-Two Primary and County or Local Offices (nonpartisan).

Then came a page listing party name abbreviations (e.g.: DEM – Democratic) and also listing candidates for the State Senate and State Assembly districts in Orange County.

The next page listed the Voting Service Centers (6) where you could drop of your Vote-by-Mail ballot, get a replacement ballot or receive other voter assistance.

Next, several pages of candidate statements for those running for Congress and state and local offices.

Section 7 contained six pages on Measure O — a bond issue ($63,000,000) for repairs and upgrades for the Fountain Valley School District.

Election CatsThe Sample Ballot / Practice Ballot followed; three pages in length and fourth blank page — “This page left intentionally blank”

Page 34 contained a plea to volunteer on Election Day; page 35 had a copy of the Voter Bill of Rights and then a final page asking if my information was correct.

The back cover had my mailing address, my polling place, a postage paid postcard so I could volunteer and in the lower right hand corner a paragraph on how to sign up for a “paperless” Sample Ballot.

Oh, yeah, I should get my Vote-by-Mail Ballot sometime next week — they begin to get mailed out on the 11th (Tuesday).

Now I’m waiting for my copy of the California State Voter Guide — maybe I can then figure out how to vote on the seventeen (17) state propositions without having to depend on the always too rosy / too gloomy / too deceptive / too self-interestry television commercials and newspaper endorsements.

While reading following the baseball and football games last night (and having the late-evening news on in the background) Smoke and Mist kept me company — thus, the gratuitous cat pictures in today’s post.

Reading Retired

One of the nice things about being retired is that I usually have quite a bit of time to read: newspapers and books, primarily.

Unfortunately, my favorite authors seldom write more than a book or two every year or two (or three or four). This means I re-read a number of books every year as well as find new authors to read. It also means that I sometimes am “inundated” with several new books at about the same time — publishers do not go over their schedules with me before releasing their books.

I received my copy of Peter F. Hamilton’s new Commonwealth novel — A Night Without Stars — last Tuesday and dove right in. By Friday I was on page 264 and Ian W. Toll’s The Conquering Tide (in paperback) arrived. The Conquering Tide is the second in Toll’s trilogy of the Pacific war. At 542 pages, not counting Notes and Index, it was a good quick read. Yes, I finished it today while sitting on our exercise bike and watching parts of Day of the Jackal on the room’s Apple TV.

By the way, I give The Conquering Tide 5 Stars.

Now I can resume reading A Night Without Stars and Spoor’s Spheres of Influence. And tomorrow my copy of Flint’s Castaway Odyssey should arrive — even though I saw it already on the shelves of HB’s B&N last Saturday.

Next week Modesitt’s Treachery’s Tools should also be delivered to my front door. I have several other books on order that should be arriving in the next month and a half . . . ahhhhhhh. Now, if I could just get an advance copy of The Gathering Edge before Christmas . . .cats and reading

Reading Humor

On a side note — p. 433 of The Conquering Tide:

Many who worked with Nimitz later recalled his shrewd use of the well-applied joke. While winding down a testy planning session in the spring of 1944, the admiral said he was reminded of history’s “first amphibious operation,” conducted by Noah. “When they were unloading from the Ark, he saw a pair of cats come out followed by six kittens. ‘What’s this?’ he asked. ‘Ha, ha,’ said the tabby cat, ‘and all the time you thought we were fighting.'”

Oh yeah, I went to our new Senior Center last Friday to get my annual flu shot and made the “mistake” of stopping at the library and getting a new card. Found a copy of Sue Grafton’s X. Now I just have to find time to read it. Hmmmmm . . . such a problem.

Perception = Reality (?)

Perception can be defined as the way we experience the world. Our actions are based on that perception. We like to believe that the world we experience is the real world — reality. Therefore: perception is reality.

A problem, maybe the problem, is that each of us experiences the world a bit differently. Therefore: different experiences equal different realities.


Does perception equal reality, or do we only think it does?

I react to the world I see, and you react to the world you see. Our perceptions and, therefore, our realities are different. Because our realities are different, our actions and reactions are different.

Oftentimes our perceptions, realities and, therefore, our actions closely align. We are driving and see a red light at the next intersection; we slow our automobiles and stop. Of course, if we are not paying attention and do not see the red light, it does not exist in our reality, and we do not stop which may result in an “accident” and injuries or death for ourselves and others.

Our current Presidential election campaign can be seen as a case in point.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent different perceived political, economic and social realities. Neither candidate appears, to me at least, to inspire much trust or hope for the future. Indeed, the theme of the election seems, again to me at least, to be dislike and the fear that the other candidate, if elected, will bring about the apocalypse.

Both candidates are white, Caucasian. Both candidates are wealthy. Both candidates are college educated. Both candidates are married and have children. Yet, their world-views and supporters are quite different.

Both seek the votes of, but only one of them draws significant support, from non-Caucasians and Latino minorities. (At least, according to the polls published by our print and electronic media.)

Both seek the support of the poor, as well as the wealthy.

As neither smarts nor knowledge and education are requirements for voting, both candidates seek the votes of those with high school and college educations as well the votes of those who have not completed elementary school. The same is true of employment status, marital status, whether or not one has children (and of what age), religious beliefs, etc.

The total number of Americans eligible to vote in the November 2016 Presidential Election exceeds 225 million. Many will not be registered to vote and many of those registered to vote will not do so. Yet, some 100+ million of us will vote and those votes will reflect 100+ million realities.

The world I live in as a college educated and retired teacher is a different world, or reality, than that lived in by an unemployed, non-high school graduate living in a trailer park in the rural South; or a Black, single mother with three kids under ten and working two jobs in the formerly industrial North; or a billionaire investment banker with his, or her, own jet; or a nearly ad infinitum of other possible realities.

Yet, on November 8th, 2016 we will all vote, or not, to elect one of these two candidates (or a third-party candidate) who, we hope, will try to knit these hundred million different realities into a viable vision of our future and that of our children.

Your vote counts the same as mine. Your vote counts the same as that of every member of the group of people you fear, or admire, the most.

Your vote counts the same as that of Hillary Clinton or that of Donald Trump.

Isn’t reality scary?

Or is that just my perception of it?

The Trip — 2016: Part 29 — Arriving Home

Once again our plane is a Boeing 777-300, very comfortable and smooth. We took off about three-thirty — a delay of about an hour and a half with arrival in LA scheduled to be about 6:10 pm.

I got a copy of the Wall Street Journal and The London Times and read through the taxiing and takeoff until it was time to eat. Well, at least, until it was time for a Jack Daniels or three.

The meal consisted of:

Starter — Prosciutto and Mozzarella with melon

Salad — Spinach and frisée with strawberries and blue cheese and yogurt dressing

Entrée — Seared white halibut with beurre blanc sauce, champagne risotto and grilled asparagus

Dessert — Gourmet cheese plate of red cheddar, blue cheese stick and Montero farmer white

It all tasted quite good. Filling but not stuffing.

Di watched movies on her video screen, and I worked on my Trip photos for most of our very smooth flight. Toward its end we were served another light meal, salad and sandwich and dessert. I also drank several glasses of ice water — no more Jack.

Touchdown at LAX was 6:20 pm. We waited until everyone else had deplaned before leaving. The scooter, despite the best efforts of the crew was not delivered to the plane’s door but a wheelchair was there and the scooter was waiting when we exited the boarding tunnel. A minute to put it together and we were off to Immigration and Baggage — it was, again, a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g walk and a couple of lift rides, as Di’s scooter cannot negotiate stairs or escalators.

Note: The elevators/lifts in this section of LAX only have access to two floors: the floor you are on and the floor Immigration wants you on.

Immigration was extremely busy as several planes had recently landed, including the three hundred people from our flight. We were allowed to use either the automated processing or Special Assistance and after a glance at the long lines opted for Assistance. A few minutes later we were through passport control/immigration and headed to the Baggage area.

We were passed on the way to baggage by several young (18-22) men who had been on our flight and had exited at the opening of the plane’s doors. They had waited in lines long enough for us old slowpokes to catch up and pass them — chortle.

Our luggage carousel (3) was just beginning to unload baggage from an AA flight just in from Mexico and a few minutes later began to disgorge the baggage from our flight as well. Wonder of wonders, less than ten minutes later I had all four of our suitcases and onto our last check by Immigration.

I handed him our customs declaration, a quick glance and we were out. Up the tunnel and into a sea of faces and name cards from drivers — ah ha, the driver who had taken us to LAX in June was right there. I called to Charlie, who was ahead of me and the driver took my cart. The time was 7:40 pm — an hour and twenty minutes after touchdown and we were out.

Because of the crowds and construction, our driver had to park in a lot several minutes walk away from the Tom Bradley International Terminal — that walk and a smoke for Di had us in the car at 8:00 pm on the dot. There was still a good deal of traffic on surface streets and the 405 Freeway, but we pulled up at our driveway a minute before nine. Home.

I walked Charlie to the bench outside our front door and then helped the driver with the rest of our luggage. The house key was actually in the carry-on where I remembered leaving it and I soon had the door open, the alarm switched off and Charlie deposited in her garden room.

The cats said “Hello” and “Where the heck have you been?” I brought in the luggage, put the scooter in the garage, made Charlie a cup of tea (decaffeinated Earl Grey) and sat down exhausted. Time enough tomorrow (or Saturday) for emptying the suitcases. “Zzzzzzz . . . ”

(to be continued / concluded?)