Vote: Exercise Your Right Next Tuesday, June 5


Alameda voters are deciding how to fill out their ballots. Some will do it in the comfort and privacy of their homes, others will take the traditional trip to the polls next Tuesday. Little remains of the traditional way of primary voting, however. 

In 2010, 54 percent of California voters approved Proposition 14. The vote amended the state’s constitution and changed the way Californians vote in non-presidential elections. Before 2010, registered Republicans voted on a Republican ticket, registered Democrats considered the ballot with their party’s candidates. The system left independent voters out in the cold. 

Since 2010, California no longer allows each political party to open a primary election to just its members. Instead, Proposition 14 created a primary ballot identical for all voters. All candidates in the primary, regardless of their political preference appear on the ballot. The two candidates with the most votes would then qualify for the general election on Nov. 6. 

The passage of Prop. 14 has resulted in sometimes dizzying choices for a given political office and promotes the idea of making choices over coffee on the dining-room table instead of finding yourself dazzled and confused in the voting booth. This election has, for example, 14 candidates for governor, six for lieutenant governor and four for secretary of state. Closer to home, Rep. Barbara Lee is running unopposed because no one filed papers to oppose her. 

In addition to state-wide candidates, California has place four propositions on the ballot.

  • California Proposition 68, the Parks, Environment and Water Bond, is a legislatively referred bond act.  A “yes” vote supports this measure to authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for state and local parks, environmental protection projects, water infrastructure projects and flood protection projects. A “no” vote simply opposes this measure. 
  • Proposition 69, the Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment, is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. A “yes” vote would require that revenue from sales tax on diesel gasoline and the state’s Transportation Improvement Fee be used solely for transportation-related purposes.

Prop. 69 would also exempt revenue generated by SB 1 — the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 — from the state appropriations limit. A “no” vote simply opposes this amendment. 

  • Proposition 70, the Vote Requirement to Use Cap-and-Trade Revenue Amendment, is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. A “yes” vote supports this amendment to require a one-time two-thirds vote in each chamber of the state legislature in 2024 or thereafter to pass a spending plan for revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. 

To make sure no revenue is spent without the two-thirds vote, the measure would place all revenue from the cap-and-trade program in a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve Fund beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.  A “no” vote simply opposes this amendment. 

  • Proposition 71, Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment. A “yes” vote supports this amendment to move the effective date of ballot propositions, including citizen initiatives and legislative referrals. For example, when voters approved Proposition 64 on Nov. 8, 2016, the recreational use of marijuana became legal under state law the next day, on Nov.  9, 2016. Had Prop 71 been in effect, the recreational use of marijuana would have become legal on Dec. 17, 2016, the fifth day after the secretary of state certified the election results.  A “no” vote opposes moving the effective date.  
  • Proposition 72, the Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessments Amendment, is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. A “yes” vote supports this amendment to allow the state legislature to exclude rainwater capture systems added after Jan 1, 2019, from property tax reassessments. A “no” vote opposes this amendment.

On the county level, the voter finds many office holders running unopposed for the same reason as those on the state level: no one drew paperwork to oppose them. These candidates include Alameda’s representative on the Board of Supervisors, Wilma Chan; Sherriff Greg Ahern and Superintendent of Schools Karen Monroe. District Attorney Nancy O’Malley did draw opposition when Pamela Price filed her paperwork. 

Alameda County has placed five measures on the June 5 ballot. However Alameda voters will only vote on two of them. Measure A and Regional Measure 3.

Measure A’s official name is Alameda County Sales Tax for Childcare and Early Education. A “yes” vote favors authorizing the county to impose a sales tax for 30 years at the rate of one-half of one percent (.5 percent) of gross receipts from retail sales. 

The county will use the money for childcare and pre-school programs, as well as programs for homeless and at-risk children; programs to prevent child abuse and to pay for efforts to add childcare locations and employees in the county. A “no” vote simply opposes the tax.  

Regional Measure 3 is the Bay Area Traffic-Relief Plan. A “yes” vote authorizes raising bridge tolls in the Bay Area, except for the Golden Gate Bridge, by $3 over six years to fund the traffic-relief plan, including a $4.5 billion slate of transportation projects. A “no” vote simply opposed raising the tolls.