California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking voters to back a series of reforms in a referendum.
Mr Schwarzenegger's popularity has taken a bruising
Voters are being asked about eight iniciatives on a range of issues - four of which are backed by the governor.
Some polls suggest that the governor's initiatives could be defeated.
Analysts say that would make the former Hollywood actor politically vulnerable as his 2006 re-election campaign gets under way.
Mr Schwarzenegger announced in September that he would seek office again next year.
However, a survey last week found only 36% of Californians rated the governor's performance as "positive".
The Republican governor flew around the state on Monday in an effort to win over voters.
"We must make the government a better servant to the people. Give me the tools to reform the system," he said.
Other measures at the ballot box include one that would lengthen the time teachers need to work to win permanent tenure.
Another that would allow the governor to make mid-year budget cuts, while another would take away the Democrat-led state legislature's power to draw political boundaries.
Mr Schwarzenegger's popularity has declined sharply after clashes with trade unions over the controversial plans.
The unions have joined forces with Democrats to spend more than $100m (£57.3m) on their campaign against the measures, almost double what Mr Schwarzenegger has spent.
The BBC's David Willis in Los Angeles says Mr Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign could be bruising.
Among those mentioned as possible Democratic nominees are fellow Hollywood luminaries, the actor Warren Beatty and the film director Rob Reiner.