Californians, well, some Californians, head to the ballot box on Tuesday to vote on eight highly contested propositions. The election is, by all accounts, a referendum on our ridiculous boy-Governor
A massive, labor-led coalition has assembled to defeat the anti-union and budgetary initiatives, while pro-choice groups have forged a coalition to turn back the parental notification prop. Recent polls have the anti-union initiatives trailing significantly, but are mixed on the abortion measure. I’m scared about all of them.
This election is a good example of what is wrong with Californian democracy. Not only is this a special election, called by the Governor to ram through his agenda during what he hopes will be a low-turnout election cycle, but it reveals just how bankrupt governance-by-iniative really is.
In 2004, 990,000 voters left the box blank for proposition 72, which would have provided healthcare for millions of Californians. The proposition failed by 160,000 votes. It would be easy to blame voter apathy or ignorance. However, it is understandable that voters feel uneasy about casting a ballot on highly technical questions, especially when they are bombarded with 24-hour television commercials reducing these questions down to soundbites and theme music. In the absence of real campaign finance reform, real debate on our public airwaves, and effective voter education on issues, referenda are decided in much the same way as our candidate elections are: he who spends the most, wins.
It is possible to give substantive issues to the voters to make choices on. But when the Governor holds invitation-only “town hall” meetings made up of supporters in order to “disucuss” his proposals, we all lose.
So, I’ll be spending much of this weekend and Monday and Tuesday knocking on my neighbors’ doors and calling people on the phone in order to get as many of the Democrat-leaning Californian base to the polls on Election Day. There is a hell of a lot at stake. Proposition 73, the anti-choice measure, looks like it could pass. If so, the Constitution of the great State of
No sleep till Tuesday.