News and Commentary

California Voters Appear To Have Sided With Republicans On Half Of Statewide Ballot Measures

   DailyWire.com
Voting sticker.
Bloomberg Creative via Getty Images

California is generally perceived to be hostile to GOP ideas. Voters haven’t elected a Republican to a statewide office since 2006. Democrats dominate the state legislature with super-majorities in both chambers. And on Saturday, people partied in the streets of progressive meccas like West Hollywood and San Francisco after media outlets projected Joe Biden had defeated President Donald J. Trump.

However, the latest unofficial results indicate the Golden State’s liberal electorate seemed to agree with the California Republican Party’s official recommendations on half of the 12 propositions that also appeared on the statewide ballot.

Californians sided with gig companies to protect independent contractors, opposed rent control, and shot down initiatives that would have abolished cash bail and reinstated affirmative action goals. Voters are currently rejecting a proposed property tax increase by a tight margin with millions of ballots left to count.

Californians protected the right to work as an independent contractor.

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash launched the campaign to pass Proposition 22. The ballot measure acted as push back to a labor law that, in part, targeted the gig companies.

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) last year. He said it would “help reduce worker misclassification – workers being wrongly classified as ‘independent contractors’ rather than employees, which erodes basic worker protections like the minimum wage, paid sick days and health insurance benefits.”

By passing Prop 22 with more than 58% support, voters exempted app-based transportation and delivery companies from AB5, classifying app-based drivers as “independent contractors” instead of “employees.” The Los Angeles Times noted, “the ballot measure would offer those drivers several new benefits, but ones less generous than they would have as actual employees.”

Uber and Lyft spent more than $200 million to pass Prop 22. Opponents, including organized labor, accuse the companies of exploiting workers while denying them a guaranteed living wage and the right to unionize.

Californians are currently rejecting a property tax that could generate as much as $12.5 billion per year.

With almost 84% of precincts reporting, a commercial property tax increase is currently trailing by a narrow margin with 48.1% support. Prop 15 would require “market-rate values for many business properties to be used as the basis for assessing property taxes owed” rather than the purchase price, according to the L.A. Times. The money would be used as a funding source for public schools, community colleges, and local government services, the voter guide said.

The Times cited nonpartisan analysis that indicated Prop 15’s passage could generate as much as $12.5 billion annually, adding that the measure is backed by “a variety of Democratic-leaning advocacy groups, including organized labor.” Both Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) support the proposed tax increase. The Yes on 15 campaign reportedly received $7.1 million from the philanthropic organization led by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

Californians said “no” to repealing an anti-discrimination law and reinstating affirmative action goals.

56.5% of the electorate opposed repealing an anti-discrimination law that had been approved by voters nearly a quarter-century ago. Prop 16 would have reinstated affirmative action goals that allowed the state to consider factors like race, national origin, and gender when making decisions about public employment, public education, and public contracts.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Proposition 16 And The Anti-Discrimination Law It Repeals

The measure was sold as a way to dismantle systemic racism and respond “to the racist policies and rhetoric of the Trump White House.” Opponents said it “would exacerbate” discrimination toward Asian Americans and require the state to enforce racial quotas.

Seven professional sports franchises in the Bay Area announced they had come together to support Prop 16, including the Golden State Warriors (NBA), San Francisco 49ers (NFL), San Francisco Giants (MLB), Oakland A’s (MLB), San Jose Sharks (NHL), San Jose Earthquakes (MLS), and the Oakland Roots Sports Club (NISA). Two co-founders of the Black Lives Matter Global Network had also endorsed the prop.

Californians rejected a proposal to expand rent control ordinances statewide.

A proposal to expand rent control statewide went down hard, with only 40.1% support.

If approved, Prop 21 would have allowed cities and counties to establish new rent control ordinances on residential properties more than 15 years old, excluding some single-family dwellings. Supporters said it would reduce homelessness by keeping renters in their homes. California voters had previously rejected a similar measure in 2018.

According to the L.A. Times, “the failure of Proposition 21 means that, once again, landlord groups have convinced voters that stricter limits on rent hikes are not a solution to California’s housing affordability problems.”

Californians rejected a bid to abolish cash bail in the state.

A sweeping change to pretrial detention was opposed by 55.9% of the electorate. By voting “no,” Californians rejected a law replacing money bail with a system based on public safety and flight risk.

The L.A. Times described Prop 25 as “a referendum, a special kind of ballot measure asking voters to approve or reject a law passed by the Legislature,” adding: “In this case, it’s the fate of a 2018 law abolishing cash bail in California.” According to the outlet, “companies representing the bail industry quickly gathered signatures on a referendum after the law was signed.”

Californians rejected amending the state constitution to allow some 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections.

Proposition 18, which would have lowered the voting age for primary elections, was also rejected, only garnering 44.5% support.

The Democratic-controlled state legislature placed the measure on the ballot. It proposed a constitutional amendment that would have permitted 17-year-olds to vote in March primaries as long as they turned 18 by the next general election.

Proponents said the measure would have boosted youth civic engagement by allowing first-time voters to participate in a full election cycle. In the official voter information guide, opponents pointed out that current laws prohibit teenagers from smoking, drinking, and tanning “because research shows the logic and reasoning area of their brains is not fully developed.”

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