Community News Voting Resources

Voters’ Guide: Deadlines, What’s on the Ballot and How to Vote

Image courtesy of Rebecca Elliott.

The official date of the election in California is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, but many Californians already received their ballots in the mail, as a result of new legislation making California a permanent vote-by-mail state. One way to vote is by filling out a ballot and mailing it back as soon as possible or dropping it off in person to any of the 120 ballot drop box locations. The deadline to register to vote online or by mail is Oct. 13, but you can register in person on the day of the election and cast a provisional ballot. If you prefer to vote in person, polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. beginning on Oct. 31 through Nov. 3. 

State Propositions on the 2020 Ballot:

The following is a brief summary of the propositions and measures on the ballot specific to the state of California and county of San Diego. Readers are encouraged to do their own in-depth research on all ballot items and not rely solely on the summary given by The Point.

Prop 14: If passed, it will give $5.5 billion to stem cell and other forms of medical research while increasing state costs to repay bonds over the next 30 years. 

  • Pros: Funds research for cures for cancer, Alzheimers, heart disease, diabetes and other life threatening chronic diseases. 
  • Cons: Could increase taxes during the present economic crisis, and further fund a state agency that already received $3 billion.

Prop 15: If passed, this will tax commercial business buildings on the current value of the property, rather than the value it had when initially purchased. This would impact properties worth more than $3 million. Tax funds obtained through this proposition would fund schools and local governments.

  • Pros: Billions more dollars will fund schools and protect small businesses.
  • Cons: Increased taxes could cause cost of living to increase, including rising costs in food, gas, utilities and healthcare.

Prop 16: If passed, this proposition would allow government policies to make decisions based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or naional origin. 

  • Pros: Institutions could be required to include minorities and women in leading positions and would open opportunities for better education for all. 
  • Cons: Would allow the government to discriminate based on the presence of the above factors rather than treat all individuals equally.

Prop 17: If passed, it would allow individuals voting rights after finishing a prison term and increase one-time costs by several hundred thousand dollars for voting registration and ballot materials. 

  • Pros: Restores the right to vote faster for those who have completed prison sentences, which matches with other states’ voting policies.
  • Cons: Allows criminals convicted of rape, murder and child molestation to vote before finishing parole sentence.

Prop 18:  If passed, it would allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primaries if they will be 18 by the time the general election occurs. 

  • Pros: Encourages young people to vote and participate in civic responsibilities and allows first time voters to take part in an entire election cycle. 
  • Cons: Runs the risk of irresponsible votes by young people who are not fully educated on politics. 

Prop 19: If passed, people over 55, disabled individuals and natural disaster victims would be able to pay the same amount of property taxes when they move to a new home. It would also limit tax benefits to those who inherit real estate (excluding primary homes and farms).

  • Pros: Limits the taxes on disabled individuals, those over 55 and people who lost their homes in recent fires.
  • Cons:  Families who desire to pass on their home and property to children will face tax increases. 

Prop 20: If passed, it will increase the punishment for who repeatedly shoplift hundreds of dollars worth of product by increasing jail time for certain non-violent offenders. It would also require law enforcement to get DNA samples for people who commit certain misdemeanors. 

  • Pros: Stops convicted child molesters and others convicted of violent crimes from being released from prison early, while also holding habitual thieves accountable. The DNA acquired could help solve other violent crimes. 
  • Cons: Increases taxpayer spending to fund courts and prison expenses by tens of millions of dollars, which could cut funding for schools and housing. 

Prop 21: If passed, the state government would be allowed to impose rent control on properties more than 15 years old. This means landlords would not be allowed to charge more than a certain amount for rent. 

  • Pros: Could prevent homelessness by allowing local governments to pass laws prohibiting landlords from increasing rent to a level individuals and families can’t afford. 
  • Cons: Since landlords would not be able to charge higher rent, it could drive the value of homes down and discourage private investors from building new homes and communities, thereby possibly cutting construction jobs.

Prop 22: If passed, it would allow rideshare and delivery drivers (Uber, Doordash, Lyft) to be considered private contractors rather than employees. 

  • Pros: Provides new benefits such as wage guarantees and allows drivers the flexibility to work whenever they like for any amount of time they want. 
  • Cons: Drivers would not get unemployment benefits, sick time or healthcare even if they work full-time. 

Prop 23: If passed, this would require dialysis clinics to have a doctor on-site during patient treatment times. It would also prohibit clinics from limiting certain services without the state’s approval. Clinics would not be able to turn patients away based on payment methods.

  • Pros: It could improve the quality of treatment by having a doctor on site at all times and would allow patients with varying insurances to get the same treatment. Medical personnel would be required to report infections.
  • Cons: It would increase the operating costs for dialysis clinics, causing many of them to possibly shut down, thereby creating a shortage in available treatment for patients who need dialysis. 

Prop 24: If passed, it would establish California Privacy Protection Agency to prevent businesses from using and/or exploiting personal information.

  • Pros: Privacy agreements would have to change and the state would hold companies accountable for exploiting people’s privacy on digital devices. 
  • Cons: Employees would have to wait years until they know what confidential information their employers attained about their lives. It could also allow companies to force individuals to pay an extra fee if they don’t want personal data to be used for advertising purposes. 

Prop 25: If passed, no one would have to pay bail to be released from jail before a trial. People would be released based on the chances of them committing another crime or not showing up to court if released from custody between the time of the initial arrest and first court appearance. 

  • Pros: Levels the playing field for those who want to be released from custody prior to their court date. They would not have to have a certain amount of money to afford bail.
  • Cons: Computer generated algorithms determine whether or not someone is released prior to court. This could allow the government to discriminate by initiating digital profiling. A new system and lack of bail funds could cost millions of taxpayer dollars per year. 

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City of San Diego Ballot Measures:

Measure A: If approved, this could allow a property tax increase in the city of San Diego to pay off bonds. 

Measure B: If approved, an independent investigation would be required under circumstances where someone dies in police custody or after an interaction with law enforcement. Complaints about police officers would also be reviewed. The investigative commission would be independent from both the police department and the mayor. Reports would be made public.

Measure C: If approved, voters would only be able to elect the member of the school board from their sub-district. Currently there are five sub-districts, and during general elections, voters are allowed to vote on all five sub-district representatives even though they only occupy one of the sub-districts. All five board members make decisions impacting every school in San Diego.

Measure D: If approved, school board members would be included in city laws that create procedures for filling vacancies or removing elected officials from office.

Measure E: If approved, it will remove the 30 ft. height limit for buildings in the Midway District, allowing the possibility of new infrastructure in the area. 

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Written by: Maggie Valentine and Jen Pfeiler