There's a run-off special election for California's Assembly District 51 coming up on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

Voters will choose between the top two vote-getters in October’s primary: Wendy Carrillo and Luis Lopez. Before you vote, the ACLU of Southern California wants to make sure you have the information you need to elect a champion for social justice.

Candidate Scorecard: To view the scorecard in full size, click to download it as a PDF.

To verify that you are a resident of state Assembly District 51, go to

To help constituents of Assembly District 51 elect an advocate for issues such as racial justice, health care, economic opportunity, immigration, criminal justice, policing, education, LGBT equality, and reproductive justice, we worked with community partners to survey the primary candidates on a range of social justice measures. We've added statements from each candidate to explain to voters why they would be a champion on ACLU issues.

Download our scorecard and see the candidates' responses below.



What is the candidate survey?

We wanted voters in Assembly District 51 to have enough information to elect a champion for social justice. So in consultation with our partners, we came up with fifteen questions about policy proposals that the Legislature is likely to face in the next few years. The questions cover a range of issues — from transgender rights to police in schools, bail reform to property tax reform, single payer health care to universal representation in immigration proceedings. Candidates had ten days to respond to the survey. We've posted the questions and their responses in full and also evaluated the responses for you on how well they commit to ACLU positions.

For the runoff, we also asked each candidate to provide a brief statement (or 250 words or less) to explain to ACLU members why they would be a champion on ACLU issues, such as those we asked about in the Candidate Survey (including racial justice, reproductive freedom, gender equality, LGBT rights, police accountability, criminal justice reform, economic justice, immigrants' rights, free speech and educational equity). We have included those statements unedited here.

How did you evaluate responses?

Experts in each question's subject area from the ACLU of Southern California and our partners reviewed responses and graded them on a scale of 1 to 6 according only to how the candidate committed to the position we support. We conducted this evaluation blind — we did not know which candidate gave which response when we scored them. In addition to scoring each candidate, we gave a summary of the responses as a whole and identified any particularly noteworthy responses. We did not evaluate the candidate's statements on why they would be a champion on ACLU issues, but present those unedited.

Did you give an overall grade for each candidate?

No. While we think all of these questions probe pressing issues, we recognize that voters may care about some issues more than others. We gave each candidate a separate score on each response, but didn't give each candidate an overall grade.

Is there information about candidates that your survey leaves out?

Yes. Our survey looked only at whether candidates committed clearly to the positions the ACLU SoCal and our partners support. We did not consider how well-reasoned or persuasive answers were. Nor did we look at candidates' backgrounds or track records to see which might be most likely to advance a social justice agenda or most effective in doing so. The candidates may highlight any additional information about why they would be a champion on ACLU issues in the statements they provided.

Are the evaluations of candidates an endorsement by your organizations?

No. The ACLU SoCal is a nonpartisan organization that does not endorse individual candidates in an election. The candidate guide and the scores in it are not an endorsement by the ACLU SoCal or any other organization, but an evaluation of the candidates' positions on important policy questions to help give voters information they need to elect a champion for social justice.

The candidate guide was compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, a 501(c)(4) organization.


Candidate responses

To see each candidate's responses to our survey questions, please click on the candidate's name to download a PDF.

Runoff candidates:

Wendy Carillo
Luis Lopez


Candidates in the primary
Andrew S. Aguero
Ron Birnbaum
Franky Carillo - N/A
Alex De Ocampo
Mike Fong - N/A
Patrick Koppula
Mario Olmos
John Prysner
Gabriel Sandoval
Barbara Torres - N/A
Mark Vargas
David Vela