Preview your ballot and get information on registering to vote, and voting by mail or in-person with CapRadio's California 2020 Election Voter Guide.
While much of the attention on the November election is focused on the race for President, Californians are going to have a lot of other decisions to make. One (or 12) of the biggest: the statewide ballot measures.
Yes, there will be a dozen different propositions for California voters this year — Prop. 14 through Prop. 25 — on everything from expanding rent control to ending the ban on affirmative action. While we at CapRadio will be reporting on these more up until Nov. 3, we wanted to give you a quick overview now on what each measure covers and what a "yes" or "no" vote will mean.
Here are the basics of what you need to know about each proposition (including videos from our colleagues at CalMatters and more reporting from CapRadio):
Hear CapRadio reporter Sammy Caiola explain Prop. 14 in 2 minutes
This measure would authorize California to issue $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to continue funding stem cell and other medical research. Of those funds, $1.5 billion would be dedicated to fund research and therapy for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy and other brain and central nervous system diseases. The total cost over the life of the bonds, including principal and interest, amounts to $7.8 billion.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would authorize the state to purchase these bonds, increasing funding for stem cell research on treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s and dozens of other diseases.
❌ A no vote would prevent the state from issuing these bonds.
Hear CapRadio reporter Chris Nichols explain Prop. 15 in 2 minutes
Known as the "split roll" measure, Proposition 15 would increase taxes on factories, stores and other commercial and industrial real estate worth $3 million or more. It would do this by requiring owners pay property tax based on market value, rather than what is often a much lower tax rate based on the original purchase price.
The measure is considered one of the largest revisions of Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 initiative that slashed property taxes and limited how much they could go up. Residential and agricultural properties would be exempt from the changes. The split roll measure would raise an estimated $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion annually, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. The money would be distributed to K-12 public schools, community colleges and local governments.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would revise Proposition 13, increasing taxes on factories, stores and other commercial and industrial real estate by requiring owners to pay property tax based on its market value, rather than based on what they bought the property for.
❌ A no vote on this measure would allow owners of these properties to continue to pay what is often a much lower tax rate based on the original purchase price.
Hear CapRadio reporter Nicole Nixon explain Prop. 16 in 2 minutes
If passed by voters, this state constitutional amendment would end California’s ban on affirmative action. It would allow schools and public agencies to take race, ethnicity and sex into account when making admission, hiring or contracting decisions. It would repeal portions of Proposition 209, the constitutional amendment California voters passed in 1996 prohibiting affirmative action at state institutions.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would allow government agencies to set goals for recruiting diverse employees and granting contracts to women and minority-owned businesses. These considerations are meant to give a leg up to historically disadvantaged communities.
❌ A no vote would continue the ban on these affirmative action practices created by Proposition 209.
This constitutional amendment would allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote after their state or federal prison term ends. The state’s constitution prohibits people with felony convictions from voting until both their incarceration and parole are finished. The change, proposed by state lawmakers, would affect approximately 40,000 Californians, according to a state Senate analysis.
✅ A yes vote on this proposition would allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote.
❌ A no vote on this proposition would continue to prohibit people with felony convictions from voting until both their prison term and their parole are over.
If passed, this constitutional amendment would expand voting rights for certain 17-year-olds in California. Citizens who are 17, residents of the state and will be at least 18 years old at the time of the next general election, would be allowed to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election. State lawmakers placed this measure on the November ballot.
✅ A yes vote on this proposition would allow these qualifying 17-year-olds to vote in primaries or special elections if they will be 18 by the general election.
❌ A no vote on this would not expand voting rights to these 17-year-olds.
This would allow homeowners who are over 55, disabled or victims of natural disasters to transfer part of their property tax base with them when they sell their home and purchase a new one. The constitutional amendment would also prevent people who inherit family properties from keeping the low property tax base unless they use the home as their primary residence and the market value is less than $1 million. Most of the revenue from the measure would fund wildfire agencies.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would allow these homeowners who are seniors, disabled or have been victims of a natural disaster to keep a lower property tax rate when they buy a new home.
❌ A no vote on this measure would not allow these qualifying homeowners to keep their lower property tax base when they sell their home and purchase a new one.
This measure would roll back some changes to California’s criminal sentencing laws approved over the past decade. It would authorize judges to impose felony charges on certain theft or fraud crimes currently chargeable only as misdemeanors. It would also restrict the number of inmates eligible for parole by adding drug, theft and other crimes to the list of violent crimes or sentence enhancements excluded from parole review. Lastly, the measure would require people convicted of drug, theft or domestic violence misdemeanors to submit to DNA collection for the state database.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would allow judges to charge more crimes as felonies, restrict the number of inmates eligible for parole and increase the number of people who will submit their DNA to the state’s criminal database.
❌ A no vote on this measure would not enact the changes listed.
Prop 21 would allow cities and counties to implement rent control for certain residential properties over 15 years old. The initiative's official summary says it would grant exemptions from new rent control policies for individuals who own no more than two homes. The measure is meant to replace the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prohibited rent control for housing that was built after 1995 as well as for units such as single-family homes, townhomes and condos.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would allow cities and counties to put rent control policies into place on these properties.
❌ A no vote on this measure would continue the provisions of Costa-Hawkins.
This would exempt certain gig workers from AB5, California’s contentious new labor law, by reclassifying app-based delivery and rideshare drivers as independent contractors. Funded by companies including Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, Prop 22 would require companies with independent contract drivers to provide their drivers with benefits like minimum compensation and health care subsidies based on driving time, vehicle insurance and sexual harassment training rather than regular employee benefits like a minimum wage, workers’ compensation or overtime pay.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would allow companies not to classify drivers as regular employees, but would require them to provide them with the benefits listed above.
❌ A no vote on this measure would continue AB5’s requirement that these drivers be classified as employees and be provided minimum wage, workers’ compensation and overtime pay.
If approved, Proposition 23 would require dialysis clinics to have a licensed physician, nurse or physician assistant on site during kidney dialysis treatment. It would require outpatient clinics to report data on dialysis-related infections, ban them from discriminating against patients based on their source of payment or care, and require state approval to shut down a dialysis clinic.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would add these new requirements on dialysis clinics.
❌ A no vote on this measure would allow dialysis clinics to continue operating as they have been.
Hear CapRadio reporter Nicole Nixon explain Prop. 24 in 2 minutes
Proposition 24 would allow Californians to block companies from sharing personal information and limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information” including geolocation, private communications, race or ethnicity, religion, union membership and health or biometric data. It raises maximum penalties for violations involving consumers under the age of 16. The measure would also create a new state agency to enforce consumer privacy regulations, which is estimated to cost about $10 million per year.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would enact these new privacy protections and create a new state agency to enforce the regulations.
❌ A no vote on this measure would not change California's data privacy law.
Hear CapRadio reporter Scott Rodd explain Prop. 25 in 2 minutes
Proposition 25 is a referendum to overturn a 2018 law to replace California’s cash bail system with a new pretrial release system based on public safety and flight risk. The law, SB10, was put on hold after the referendum qualified for the ballot in early 2019. A “Yes” vote on Prop 25 would approve the law taking effect and end cash bail in California, while a “No” vote would keep the current cash bail system the way it is.
✅ A yes vote on this measure would end cash bail in California and replace it with the new pretrial release system.
❌ A no vote would keep California’s cash bail system as it is.
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify some of the details of Prop. 21.
What Questions Do You Have About Voting?
What information do you need to vote this year? What questions do you have about your ballot? Let us know and our CapRadio reporters may look into the answer.
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