A voter is shown in the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa on June 4, 2018. (Megan Wood/inewsource)
A voter is shown in the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa on June 4, 2018. (Megan Wood/inewsource)

If you’re already sick of commercials and fliers telling you how to vote in the upcoming election, here’s some bad news: More of them are coming.

Starting this week, voters can cast their mail-in ballots for the Nov. 6 general election, which means campaign spending is in full swing.

inewsource has resources to help you follow the money in local races — and to figure out who’s really funding the ads you’re seeing — while you decide how to cast your vote.

This year, we launched the first-ever searchable campaign finance database for campaigns that report to the San Diego County registrar of voters. Look up the name of a county candidate, ballot measure or political action committee and you’ll find their donations, spending, loans and debts.

That means you can find the donors backing Board of Supervisors candidates competing for the open central San Diego seat — Republican Bonnie Dumanis and Democrat Nathan Fletcher — and for the open North County seat — Republican Jim Desmond and Democrat Michelle Gomez.

The database is an easy way to see where the money is coming from to support the people and issues you’re voting on. Here’s an example: The political committee behind Measure YY, the San Diego Unified School District’s $3.5 billion bond proposal, is receiving 40 percent of its funding from the California Charter Schools Association.

You’ll also find groups that fund campaigns around the county, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (which typically supports Republicans) and the Service Employees International Union local chapter (which typically supports Democrats.) We just updated our database last week, and it now contains more than 47,000 records.

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We have a similar database for the city of San Diego, where you can follow the money behind the eight candidates running for City Council this November. The city ballot measures are in there, too, including the two proposals to redevelop the former Qualcomm Stadium site — SDSU West and SoccerCity. And for the true wonks: You can look up anyone who has run for city office since 2007. Our records update every night automatically.

This week, inewsource also is doing a five-part series on key ballot measures. We cover the arguments for and against each proposition, and we tell you about the money funding these campaigns. They include measures to repeal a gas tax increase, redevelop the former Qualcomm Stadium site, move county elections to November, approve a $3.5 billion bond for San Diego Unified and increase transparency in city of San Diego business dealings.

To learn more about what’s on the ballot, including candidates for state and federal offices, you can go to the KPBS voter guide.


We’ll let you know when big things happen.

Jill Castellano is a former investigative data coordinator for inewsource. When she's not deep in a spreadsheet or holed up reporting and writing her next story, she's probably hiking, running or rock climbing. She also loves playing board games and discussing the latest chapters with her book club....