7 Hours Left: Is Anybody Actually Voting in Cal. Elections?

By William Peacock, Esq. on June 03, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In an election widely expected to have an "embarrassingly low" turnout, the news isn't all yawn.

We've covered record spending and a District Attorney candidate that has been recently arrested multiple times for alcohol-related offenses (not to mention that time he dislocated a man's hip with his shoe). But this election isn't all fun and games -- there are actual issues to decide.

Just kidding. Now that state-wide citizens' initiatives have moved to the fall, the state's "top two" primaries are an "incumbent + [most popular opponent from other party]" snoozefest, otherwise littered with local dog catcher races.

Still, it's your civic duty, right? Here are a few notes (and notables) on the ballot:

Anticlimactic Races

Who's going to get the most votes for Governor in the primary? We'd put money on current Gov. Jerry Brown, who hasn't yet soiled the rug, and is facing challenges from a whole bunch of people you've never heard of. Ditto for Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsome. (Note: this is not an official or personal endorsement for either person -- we're neutral and apathetic, respectively.)

Dark Horse Candidate

Seriously, how great would it be if Sen. Leland Yee won the election for Secretary of State? He's got the right party affiliation (Democrat, in a state dominated by Democrats). He also has ... pending felony charges stemming from bribery, corruption, and gun dealing allegations. And, he's still on the ballot, despite dropping out!

But he has name recognition!

A Seriously Good Reason to Vote

There are two propositions on the ballot: Prop. 41 and 42.

Prop. 41 would reduce an already approved bond of $900 million that was marked for helping veterans buy homes to only $300 million, with the savings reallocated to finding multifamily housing, such as apartment complexes, for the same population. It's basically a tweak to an existing fund [PDF] that, according to the legislature, no one is using due to the aftermath of the housing crisis.

Prop. 42 is all about government transparency. [PDF] The measure would require local governments to comply with state laws regarding open meetings and public records, and would require them to cover the tab, now that the state is too broke to do so.

The EFF provides some interesting history and justification for Prop. 42 -- when the state stopped covering the tab, the legislature tried to make compliance optional, before Gov. Brown vetoed the bill. This would curtail any future efforts to weaken or destroy the state's open government laws.


If you're in Del Norte and Tehama counties, they're trying to foment revolution and form a new state -- the State of Jefferson, reports Reuters. It's one of many recent attempts to divvy up this massive state.

Where Do I Vote?

Glad you asked. Google made a tool for that.

Seriously folks: we were kidding about this being an absolute snoozefest. Though many of the races are foregone conclusions, there are candidates that you might not want in office (drunks, felons, and others of that ilk). Plus, Prop. 42 is really important if you believe in open government.

The polls close tonight at 8 p.m. Take the five minutes to vote.

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