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Prop. 40: Don't let this proposition confuse you

November 06, 2012|By Jim Newton
  • Because Proposition 40 is a referendum, not an initiative, on state Senate district lines, the effect of voting for it may be the opposite of what some voters think.
Because Proposition 40 is a referendum, not an initiative, on state Senate… (Robert Greene / Los Angeles…)

The ballot's strangest measure, Proposition 40, coasted to the electorate Tuesday, running without any opposition but still subject to voter confusion. Because Proposition 40 is a referendum, not an initiative, the effect of voting for it may be the opposite of what some voters think. To be clear: A vote for the measure upholds the work of a citizens redistricting commission in drawing lines for California state Senate districts. A vote against it would overturn the commission, with uncertain consequences.

California Republicans initially put the measure on the ballot in the hopes that voters would reject it and, with it, the lines drawn by the commission. Then they had second thoughts and now support the commission and the measure, along with a broad spectrum of backers.

That rocky history has given supporters of the commission some uneasiness, as they have worried that voters might reject the measure by mistake, especially because it appears at the end of a long ballot, and confused voters often reflexively vote no.

INTERACTIVE: California election results

But Aaron McLear, who helped organize the campaign for Proposition 40, said the campaign's internal polls as well as some public polls showed that voters appeared to understand the measure. As of Tuesday morning, McLear said he he was optimistic that it would pass.

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Follow Jim Newton on Twitter @newton_jim

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