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

Conclusion

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.

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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 . . .

Friday Commentary

Well, it’s Friday again and I’ve been bereft in blogging and commentary the last couple of weeks. The only page I’ve done any updating of has been my Spam/Scam Phone page — unfortunately, it’s had much too much business lately. A pox on these telemarketers, scammers and thieves and their “partners” in criminology — the telecom companies and politicians beholden to their monies.

Commentary on Taxes

On a more positive note Tax Day has come and gone. Owing to a couple of late financial documents and a bit of a mix-up at my tax preparer’s office, my tax returns did not get filed until the last day — April 18th. But my refunds have already been deposited into my credit union checking account.

The main reason we got refunds this year were medical expen$e$ — eye care, doctor$, pre$cription$ and dental cost$. I’d rather not have had the costs (and deductions). And I am very glad we’re still covered by my wife’s health insurance from her former employer — we still have to pay for it, but it’s a lot cheaper than getting it on our own or doing without.

The good part about this is that I used the refunds and just paid off the last of the dental costs I’d charged on my credit union charge card — with a couple of dollars left over for other things, such as, the co-pay on her next prescription which I will pick up on my afternoon walk today.

Commentary on Elections/Voting

The California Presidential Primary Election Official Voter Information Guide (California) arrived in this week’s mail. (This is a throne-reading document.)commentary -- https://i0.wp.com/www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov/css/i/banner.jpg?resize=525%2C48

“If you are registered with a political party: You can vote for a candidate running for President in that party.

“If you are registered with no party preference, you can vote in the Presidential primary for the following parties: Democratic, American Independent, Libertarian.

“If you registered with no party preference and want to vote in the Presidential primary for one of the following political parties: Republican, Green, Peace & Freedom, you must re-register to vote with that party by May 23, 2016.”

So, if you registered as an “independent,” that is, you are not registered with any political party, or you registered as a member of the American Independent Party by mistake and want to vote in the Republican primary, you have less than a month to correct your error. (If you registered in the American Independent Party and want to vote in the Democratic primary, you also have to re-register.)

On a related note there is Prop 50: Suspension of Legislators. Legislative Constitutional Amendment. Summary: Authorizes Legislature to suspend Members, including without salary and benefits. Prohibits suspended Members from using powers of office or legislative resources. Provides suspension may end on specified date or by vote of Member’s house. Fiscal Impact: No effect on state spending in most years. Minor savings in some years. (Read between the words, why not?)

I found it amusing that the two legislators who wrote the “Argument Against Proposition 50” began with the following:

“Proposition 50 is a scam brought to you by those that would turn a blind eye to a culture of corruption in our State Capitol! Voters should oppose this measure because: It perpetuates a culture of corruption in the state capitol . . .”

These two men are elected legislators and members of this “culture of corruption” . . . ?

Hmmm . . . oh, well, maybe I misunderstand and although they are legislators, they are not members of this culture of corruption. Of course, if this is true, why have they not been yelling and screaming about it . . . maybe they have, and I just haven’t heard them.

Also, in the Voter Guide there is a list of the candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat: a list of 35 candidates. That’s right: 35. I thought that I paid fairly close attention to politics in California, but I have learned to the contrary. I only recognized four (4) names on the list.

One of the candidates is named President. A woman named President is running for the U.S. Senate seat from California.

Each county in California designs its own ballot. How many of these names are going to fit in the same column? How many counties are going to have ballots running more than one page in length for this single office? How many people are going to try to vote for a candidate in each column, or on each page, and thereby cause their ballot to be tossed into the shred-and-recycle bin?


Commentary Links

Well, I just finished my last cup of coffee, and it’s time to quit-and-post. However, for those of you interested, here are some web-links for further information:

An online copy of the Voter Guide: www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov

Campaign finance information: powersearch.sos.ca.gov OR cal-access.sos.ca.gov

Register to vote online at: www.RegisterToVote.ca.gov

Additional links for the Voter Guide in other languages, registration and voting, candidates and Prop 50 are listed throughout the Voter Guide.