On October 7th, California voters will approve or reject three
statewide propositions with far-reaching implications for residents
of California. The first is an unprecedented effort to recall the
governor. Also on the ballot are Proposition 53, which dictates
funding amounts for certain state infrastructure projects, and
Proposition 54, which would ban the collection of most racial data
THE RECALL INITIATIVE
This is a two-part question. First, vote on whether the standing
governor, Gray Davis, should be removed from office instead of
serving out his term. Second, you can choose among 135 candidates
you think should replace him if he is removed from office, even if
you voted no on the recall.
If more people vote no on the recall question Gov. Gray Davis
will serve out the remainder of his term.
Pros and Cons:
Many anti-recall activists, including the State Democratic Party
and labor unions, have coalesced around a “no on recall, yes on
Bustamante” strategy, attempting to get as many voters as possible
to both vote against the recall and choose current Lieutenant
Governor Cruz Bustamante as a replacement candidate. If this
strategy works, it would prevent a Republican from winning the
office – even if Gray Davis is recalled – by getting the largest
bloc of voters to unify behind the same Democratic replacement
Some opponents are against the basis of the recall process which
is costing the state $80 million. They believe it undermines the
legitimacy of elections by “undoing” a fair election that took
place less than a year ago.
On the other side, many recall proponents and Republican
activists are trying to unify voters behind actor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and are pressuring state Senator Tom McClintock (R)
to drop out of the race. Currently, Schwarzenegger has the most
support among pro-recall Republicans, but to date he doesn’t have
enough to assure victory if Davis is recalled.
Regardless of political party, some support the recall because
they believe Gray Davis should be replaced by someone else due to
his actions as governor and the problems faced by California during
his tenure, such as the California energy crisis and the state
deficit and budget crisis.
What it is:
Propostion 54 would prohibit state and local agencies from
collecting or using race-related information, with several
exceptions including policing. Currently, the federal government
requires collection of certain data to ensure compliance with
federal non-discrimination laws, and this proposition allows the
state to continue classifications when necessary to comply with
Proponents of the measure say we should create a color-blind
society by refraining from classifying people by race, ethnicity,
color, or national origin. They also argue that labeling people is
an invasion of privacy. This proposition builds on Proposition 209
– passed in 1996 – that forbids state and local governments from
using affirmative action based on race and gender categories.
Supporters argue that since California can’t use race preferences,
there is no need to classify people with this category.
Opponents argue that banning access to ethnic data will block
the ability to address inequalities by race and ethnicity in many
areas, especially public health, education, crime prevention, and
civil rights enforcement.
Opponents also argue that we are nowhere near being a colorblind
society, and that race-based data is essential to identify and
eliminate race-based discrimination. Others argue that a ban on
public agencies conducting research related to race creates a black
hole of historical data for the future public record and academic
Who’s behind it:
Ward Connerly – the UC regent who authored 1996’s Prop 209 that
banned affirmative action in public education, contracting, and
employment -is also the author of Prop. 54.
However, proponents of the group have included many conservative
think tanks, including the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute,
and the American Enterprise Institute.
Who’s against it:
With the exception of Ward Connerly, the rest of the UC Board of
Regents is opposed to this initiative. Forty health organizations
are opposed to Prop. 54, including the California Medical
Association, the California Nurses Association, Breast Cancer
Action, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.
For more information on why this initiative should be passed, go
For more analysis on why this initiative should be rejected, go
This is a funding measure that would pre-determine a set annual
amount from the state’s General Fund to be set aside for
Examples of the types of projects this measure would fund
include improving and building roads and highways, water systems,
and sewage facilities.
Supporters argue that the legislature has been neglecting state
infrastructure needs and that this measure will fund those needs
without raising taxes.
They argue that our state needs stable funds year in and year
out to address our public infrastructure.
Opponents argue that as a constitutional amendment, this measure
doesn’t allow the state and the legislature the flexibility to
address changing conditions by adjusting funding priorities from
year to year.
Also, Prop. 53 earmarks a certain amount of California’s General
Fund but doesn’t raise any new revenue to pay for the proposition,
which means that the money will come at the expense of other
programs, such as health and social services.
Supporters of the measure include the California Chamber of
Commerce. For more information on why this should pass, go to
www.yeson53.org. Opponents include the League of Women Voters,
Congress of California Seniors, and the State Superintendent of
Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell. For more information on why
this measure should be rejected, go to www.ca.lwv.org.
Go to your area polling place. Polling places will be open 7:00
a.m. -8 :00 p.m. on Tuesday October 7th.
Your polling place location will be mailed to you if you have
registered at least a month before the election.
You can also find out by calling your county election official
or by checking online at www.ss.ca.gov/elections/elections_ppl.htm.
Sometimes locations are changed from one election to the next, so
double-check your polling place before heading out to last year’s
location. For students registered with a Mills College address, go
to Luther Bank School at 3550 64th Avenue.
Vote with an absentee ballot
To vote absentee, you had to apply for an absentee ballot by
September 30th. Your absentee ballot is mailed to your voting
address and has instructions for how to send it in or drop it
In Alameda County, you can vote early from September 8th –
October 7th at the Office of the Registrar of Voters, 1225 Fallon
Street, suite G-1 in Oakland.
To find out about other counties’ early voting options, call
your county elections official.