A 2016 Ballot Guide To California — Get Familiar With These Consequential Propositions

A woman carries a California flag during the 4th of July Parade in Alameda, California on Monday, July 4, 2016. / AFP / GABRIELLE LURIE (Photo credit should read GABRIELLE LURIE/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: GABRIELLE LURIE/AFP/Getty Images

Candidates for office aren't the only options on the ballot this Election Day; 156 ballot measures are being voted on throughout the United States. In particular, California has 17 propositions on the ballot, which is the most out of any state, including the District of Columbia. Issues covered include the death penalty, the legalization of marijuana, changes in the porn industry, and more.

More than $452 million will be directly spent on ballot measures, the Los Angeles Times estimated in February. But by Nov. 3, support and opposition campaigns for ballot measures totaled more than $489 million dollars, by far exceeding the Los Angeles Times' estimation, according to Ballotpedia. Of the more than 100 ballot initiatives that were filed with the California attorney general by the deadline, less than 20 made it to the ballot in the end.

Not all of California's initiative are unique to the state itself; the legalization of marijuana is a hot-button issue and is actually on the ballot in nine states. Some are voting to legalize the drug for medicinal use, while others, like California, are voting on whether recreational use should be legal. Here is a guide to voting on some of the issues in California this Election Day:

Raise Tobacco Taxes By $2 A Pack

More than six in 10 California voters support Proposition 56, according to the Los Angeles Times. By voting yes, Californians would raise taxes on tobacco and e-cigarette products that contain nicotine. The annual fiscal revenue is expected to be at least $1 billion if the proposition passes, and this money would be used on healthcare and tobacco-control programs, Ballotpedia reported.

Early Release For Non-violent Felons

This proposition is part of Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to rework prison parole regulations, and two-thirds of Californians support it, the Los Angeles Times reported. Voting yes allows people in prison for non-violent crimes to get released early for good behavior, as well as stop juvenile offenders from being sent to adult court hearings.

Repealing The Death Penalty Or Speeding Up The Process

A yes vote on Proposition 62 will repeal capital punishment in California, and change death row sentences to life without parole. On the other hand, Proposition 66 speeds up the death penalty process. Time limits on the review of convictions by the courts would be set, and death row inmates would work to pay victim restitution, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Increased Gun Control

A yes vote would institute background checks when buying ammunition, and ban selling or owning large-capacity ammunition magazines. Proposition 63 would also largely keep guns away from felons, and make gun theft a crime that carries a felony charge. The measure would also ban selling or owning large-capacity ammunition magazines.

The Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana

Medical marijuana is already legal in California, but Proposition 64 leads California on the path of Colorado, a state which voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. Like alcohol, buying marijuana would be limited to people ages 21 and over. State and local taxes would be collected, and the proceeds would go towards marijuana education programs and law enforcement. 

Condoms For Porn Actors

Pornographic performers would have to use condoms during explicit sex scenes with a yes vote. Proposition 60 is controversial, as it could negatively impact the adult film industry, and thus California's economy, according to the Los Angeles Times. And since porn actors and actresses are tested for STDs regularly, many believe it should be their choice whether or not they want to use a condom. The proposition would also allow viewers to potentially sue the filmmakers if they notice a man not using a condom. 

Repealing The Bilingual Education Ban

Proposition 227 passed in 1998, and it banned bilingual education. This year, Proposition 58 intends to allow county offices and school distracts to decide on whether bilingual education can make a comeback in California after more than 20 years.

As you can see, there is so much more to California's ballot than just the presidential or Senate elections. Voting is a constitutional right, so don't let the number of initiatives keep you from making informed choices while voting.

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