Date

Mailing in a Ballot

If you are a mail voter, the rule is that your ballot has to be received on or before election day. Postmarks do not count. This effectively means do not mail your ballot any later than Saturday from within San Diego. If you still have your mail ballot on Monday I would drop it off in person.

Where you can drop off your mail-in ballot

Either at any polling location on Tuesday.

-or-

In San Diego, at the Office of the County Registrar of Voters, 5201 Ruffin Road, Suite K, San Diego, CA 92123 in Kearny Mesa and will be open normal business hours, 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM every day now, except Sunday.

In other counties, please look up the nearest Country Registrar of Voters.

Prop 30 Taxes for Education- Yes

Nobody likes raising taxes or paying more money. But it's either that or additional spending cuts to education and our future can't afford dumber citizens.

Prop 31 Budget Rules- No

This is a really, really complicated measure. And to be honest nobody can understand this bill without a intimate understanding of the California budget process (myself very included - so why are citizens voting on this instead of the legislature?). I really like parts of the proposition. I like the emergency power of the governor to cut spending. However, the objective analysis I've read online seems to indicate that feelings are mixed on this, and that the opposition may be correct that lawsuits could result. I'm leaning "no" on this one.

Prop 32 Block Union or corporate Contributions - No

This proposition is worded in a way that makes it sound like it tries to combat "special interests" and effects unions and corporations equally. This is a lie.

Unions tend to give money to candidates they support. Corporations tend to hire lobbyists and fund superPACs. But this law only applies to giving money directly to candidates. And thanks to Citizens United, direct cadidate contributions are not our primary concern right now on campaign financing.

You don't hear a defense of unions in the media much, but unions have a long history of protecting workers from being exploited. The reason American workers are not commonly exploited today (and mistakenly why people seem to think we don't need unions) is because unions work. Sure unions aren't perfect, but we need to strike a healthy balance, not eviscerate unions entirely.

I'm all for preventing unions from spending money on politics, but we need to take all private money out of campaigns and severely restrict lobbying. Until we clean up campaign financing unions need to be able to defend the interests of their members.

Prop 33 Reverse Robin-Hood Insurance - No

Funded by the founder of Mercury Insurance and other insurance companies, the primary effect of this measure is to, surprise, enrich insurance companies.

The way it would work is by charging more to people who do not constantly maintain car insurance even if they do not need car insurance because, e.g. they are not driving. These people tend to be the poor and the young - people who can't really afford insurace and should not be given extra incentive to avoid buying insurance when they need it. Some people, like me and most people I know, who maintain their insurance constantly would be given a fee reduction. But if you ask me, the cost is too high.

Prop 34 Repeal the Death Penalty - Yes

The writers of this proposition were very clever. This prop is very attractive because it:

  1. Stops innocent people from getting murdered by the state (yes, this is very likely a small percentage of the time, but it's really fsm awful when it happens).
  2. Even including the costs of inmates living longer, California saves money if this proposition is passed.
  3. The money saved is directed to be used towards catching murderers and rapists - so we will also become safer as a result.
  4. Forces convicts to work while in prison so they can repay the families of their victims

Prop 35 Fight (Sex) Trafficking, Punish Sex Offenders Harder - No

I almost voted yes on this, but a good friend pointed out that the ACLU of Northern California is against this.

Proposition 35 increases criminal penalties for sex offenses and imposes new restrictions on registered
sex offenders. For example, the measure requires that registrants provide online screen names and
information about their Internet service providers to law enforcement - even if their convictions are
very old and have nothing to do with the Internet or children. This provision essentially eliminates the
ability of registrants to engage in anonymous online speech and imposes a substantial burden whenever
a registrant wants to use a new online platform to speech, infringing on registrants' First Amendment
right to free speech.

This was a tough one (and it's going to pass anyway because nothing is more popular than sticking it to "sex offenders"). I use quotes because a lot of people end up being registered as sex offenders for fairly harmless things like blowing their high school sweetheart who happens to be exactly the wrong kind of 2 years younger. This American Life has a good episode on sex offenders being bullied by society.

I would probably vote yes on this proposition if it did not impose the additional burden on sex offenders, or if nearly all sex offenders were actually, well, actual sex offenders.

On a side note, I was not expecting to find this proposition funny, but I have to say that the rebuttal to argument in favor of proposition 35 is an amusing read.

My son, who served our country in the U.S. military and now attends college, could be labeled a human trafficker and have to register as a sex offender if I support him with money I earn providing escort services
--Maxine Doogan (co-author of Argument Against Proposition 35)

I can just imagine how embarassed her son might be when his marine buddies ask him about his mom. Not that sex work should be shamed. And how is it that a prostitute is so open about her career? I guess cops have better things to spend their time on than following known prostitutes.

But regarding her claim about innocent people being labeled as sex offenders (which does already happen, but that is an independent big issue that should be tackled too), I could not find anything in the prop summary that supports such a claim. I also skimmed the prop text and still could not find anything that more broadly effects sex workers. As far as I can tell, this bill really is just about sex trafficking and sex offenders.

Maxine Doogan's problems with Prop 35 seem to come from prostitutes being treated like criminals. While Maxine is engaged in a noble pursuit for freedom (both personal and of the markets, why don't Republicans like this idea? Oh yeah, Jesus never hung out with prostitutes. Unless you count the prostitutes he hung out with, but we don't.), I don't see a strong connection between Prop 35 and prostitution. I would love to see a separate proposition legalizing prostitution, but that is for another election...

Prop 36 - Fix 3 Strikes - Yes

Stops applying harsh 3 strikes penalties to people who are not a significant threat to society and saves lots of money in the process.

Again, the ACLU says it well: Proposition 36 (Three Strikes Reform Act) would help to restore the original intent and core purpose of the Three Strikes law: to keep dangerous and violent criminals behind bars. It would eliminate unintended and ineffective life sentences currently imposed for nonviolent, non-serious crimes, and save $100 million per year to fund schools, prevent crime, and reduce the need for tax increases. The initiative achieves these things by getting rid of 25 years-to-life sentences for third strike offenders who have never been convicted of a crime like rape, murder, or child molestation, and whose third strike is a minor offense like petty theft or drug possession. This initiative will help to reduce inappropriate and excessive punishments and over-incarceration in California.

Prop 37 - Fear of Genetically Engineered Foods - No

Some of my liberal allies are going to be upset with me over this one, but I think the GMO scare is much ado over nothing.

  • There is no evidence, as far as I know, that GMO foods are harmful. I think the fear is based purely on speculation about "tampering with nature" and improbable "what if" scenarios. Human kind has always tampered with nature and always will. In fact, the more we tamper the better off we are (potential nuclear holocaust notwithstanding).
  • We have been genetically modifying our foods for millennia through natural selection. Genetic engineering just radically speeds up the process.
  • Foods are genetically modified because it increases crop yield which makes food cheaper. Cheap food means the world population can spend their money (their time and energy) on other stuff instead of growing food which tends to be a big win for everyone.
  • A GMO "warning" label may be interpreted by consumers as an actual warning label and may avoid buying that product for no other reason. If food suppliers switch to non-GMO crops it will raise the price of food. Maybe this makes no difference to my friends and I, but it would have a negative impact on those living in poverty.

If the GMO disclosure were just added to the ingredients list on the back, where ingredient details typically would be listed, I would probably vote yes. But I'm voting against labels based on unfounded fear. Unfortunately I think this proposition will pass because it seems reasonable prima facie.

Prop 38 - Higher Taxes for Education and Debt Repayment - Yes

First, this proposition is not going to pass. If it did pass, it's still going to get beat by prop 30 which will supersede it (assuming prop 30 gets more votes).

I'm very sympathetic to this proposition. I like repaying our debt. I like funding early education programs. Studies have shown that funding preschools have huge payoffs later on, I'd love to see California provide preschool for all (this ballot would not provide that much preschool). So I'm going to vote yes just to show support for this general idea.

The creator of this proposition is Molly Munger and she spent $44 million of her own money on it. I am awestruck by how much she cares about the education system.

Prop 39 Multistate Business Tax Modification - Yes

Like many other propositions, this one is annoying because it tries to do disparate things. I would much prefer if this proposition were split up into 2 separate pieces of legislation.

My understanding of this is that it actually encourages job growth in California by removing an existing tax incentive for corporations to NOT hire California workers. At the same time, this will raise about a billion dollars a year, something our budget desperately needs. Other states have been enacting legislation like this and it seems to be the way to go.

The thing I don't like about this is the 2nd thing it tries to do - direct $550 million/year for five years into a green energy growth fund. I love green energy, but I'm a little conservative and skeptical about how well the government will spend this money. I'd rather the money went entirely into the general fund to fill budget holes or repay debt.

Prop 40 - Approve New State Senate Districts - Yes

There is no opposition to this bill, so it's pretty straight-forward. I just don't understand why there was opposition to this in the first place. It seems like the Republican Party just needed to ensure that these districts weren't in place for this election.


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