The Current’s guide to understanding 2020 ballot results

Read below to see ballot proposition results


Jorge Perez, Sacramento County election assistant, helps set up ballot machines and signs for the voting center at American River College on Oct. 29, 2020. (Photo by Emily Mello)

The results of the Nov. 3 election have finally been called. Read below to see what passed and what was defeated.

Proposition 16: Restoring Affirmative Action

Proposition 16 allows for gender, race, and ethnicity to be critical factors in hiring, spending, and admissions decisions in local agencies and state universities. In 1996, California Gov. Pete Wilson opposed the proposition and did not want these to be critical factors for hiring/admitting people, and affirmative action was banned. Recently, the proposition was brought back in this year’s election to reverse that vote.

According to Cal Matters, the benefits of Proposition 16 include giving Black, Latino, Native American, and other ethnic minorities opportunities to succeed regardless of background.

Those that support the proposition say that the teaching of color-blind philosophy is to blame for the structural racism in American society. It also emphasizes how schools need more teachers and professors representing ethnicities that students identify with, and their race should be a factor in the hiring process.

On the other hand, those against the proposition say that it may create more division in the
country and the state, contributing to racial paranoia and prejudice.

Prop 16 was defeated, with 57% of voters saying no and 43% of voters voting yes.

Proposition 17: Letting Parolees Vote
In California, parolees are currently not allowed to vote in elections. If Proposition 17 passes, parolees would then be allowed to vote in elections. It would also enable parolees, if they are registered to vote and not convicted of perjury or bribery, to run for office, according to the Cal Matters website.

The benefits of this proposition passing would be allowing parolees to vote in elections. It gives parolees the same chance as others, which is to vote on things that affect their future. The possible adverse outcomes of this proposition would be that the state and county costs would rise because of the additional costs of voting materials.

Some notable names for the proposition’s passing are California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the League of Women Voters in California, and Kevin McCarty, a democratic assembly member of Sacramento, among others. Some notable names against the proposition passing are Crime Victims United of California and Election Integrity Project California.

As of Nov. 21, Prop. 17 had passed with 59% of voters voting yes and more than 16 million votes counted so far.

Proposition 18: Voting at Age 17

Proposition 18 allows for 17-year-olds to vote in an election as long as they are 18 years old by the next general election, according to the League of Women’s Voters. As of right now, nobody under the age of 18 can vote in elections, however, you can pre-register as early as 16 to be registered to vote when you turn 18.

If this passes, 17-year-olds would be allowed to vote in the presidential elections. Some benefits of voting yes on this proposition would be that it would encourage young voters to start a lifelong string of voting habits. Along with that, if someone didn’t vote during the primary, they are less likely to vote during the general.

A no vote for Prop 18 would keep the voting age 18 for the primary and general presidential elections. A no vote would keep the age at 18, which some may argue would be substantial because people under 18 generally don’t pay taxes, so they may be swayed by their parents or whoever raised them.

On Nov. 3, proposition 18 did not pass with 56% of voters voting no.

Proposition 21: Rent Control

Proposition 21 looks to local governments to limit how much landlords can increase the price of rent each year in California. According to Ballotpedia’s website, a nonprofit website that helps explains different propositions for each election, if Prop. 21 passes, cities and counties would be the ones responsible for deciding how much rent will cost properties in the state, but if it doesn’t, then local governments won’t be allowed to expand on rent.

According to an article by SFGate that explains what Prop. 21 is, a notable opposer of Prop. 21 is California Gov. Gavin Newsom. In the article, it mentions that Newsom believes that this proposition “runs the all-too-real risk of discouraging availability of affordable housing” in the state of California.

According to an article by NBC San Diego that explains the pros and cons of Prop. 21, most supporters believe that if this proposition passes, then it would help with the pandemic and make rent a little more manageable for homeowners or people renting to be able to afford all of their payments. However, opposers believe that Prop. 21 shouldn’t pass because if governments have full control of rent, it could very well make the housing crisis worse for landlords as they’ll have no say on how much rent will be anymore.

Prop. 21 failed to pass in this year’s election with 60% of people voting no out of a majority of the total votes counted so far. With Prop. 21’s failure, rent control will still be in the hands of landowners in the state of California instead of local governments and counties.

Proposition 22: Gig Worker Benefits

As a counter to Assembly Bill 5, which reclassifies app-based drivers as employees (and also entitles gig workers to typical benefits that come with employment), Proposition 22 aims to protect app-based drivers’ status as independent contractors, while still allowing new benefits and protections like guaranteed minimum earnings and unique health care benefits. Although AB 5 has passed, many big app-based transportation companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are yet to comply, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times.

If these companies followed this new law, it would require a massive overhaul of their business model and cost them lots of money. So, according to Cal Matters, companies like Lyft and Uber have poured millions of dollars into advertising and campaigning for Prop. 22. According to and have even threatened to suspend their services in California shall Prop. 22 not pass. If passed, Prop. 22 could save thousands of jobs and will allow these drivers to maintain the ability to work whenever they want, which is part of the appeal of being an independent contractor.

Detractors of Prop. 22 would argue that the drivers that work for these rideshare and food companies are being exploited by them and underpaid, and should be hired on as employees to receive employee-like benefits. Those would include the guaranteed minimum wage, overtime, sick pay, workers’ compensation, and the specific services that come with being hired as employees. AB 5 may also require drivers to adhere to a schedule, just like one would for an hourly wage job, according to a report from Cal Matters.

Prop. 22 passed, with 58% voting yes.

Proposition 24: More Data Privacy

Proposition 24 will change California’s data privacy laws, according to Cal Matters. If Prop. 24 passes, this means that people would be able to tell a business to limit their use of data that is considered sensitive or private to the individual such as exact location, health information, race and religion. Prop. 24 would prevent businesses from holding onto data for longer than necessary and would create a new state agency to enforce privacy laws, investigate violations, and assess penalties. It would also allow the government to fine companies up to $7,500 for violating children’s privacy rights.

Supported by Common Sense Media, Prop. 24 is seen as essential because it would create a system to enforce privacy laws and triple-fine companies who violate child privacy rights. It would allow consumers to keep personal data private, to keep their exact location from being tracked, and would give individuals more leverage to sue companies if their email or passwords get hacked.

In contrast, California’s data privacy law is still relatively new, and updating it may hurt consumers. Prop. 24 would delay a rule that lets employees access the information their employers have about them, which will make it easier for businesses to charge higher rates for not allowing them to sell data and would also give tech companies access to data if individuals ever decide to leave California.

The Associated Press called that Prop. 24 passed, with 56% voting yes.

Proposition 25: Abolishing Cash Bail

Currently, individuals with more money are able to pay their way out of jail while awaiting their court date, while poorer individuals find themselves in debt to bail bondsmen or stuck behind bars until their court date comes. According to Cal Matters, if passed Proposition 25 will uphold a 2018 law that began the process of eliminating cash bail and instead replace it with an algorithm used to assess the potential risk of releasing particular individuals back into society prior to their court date and sentencing and how likely they are to return for their court date.

Supporters of Prop. 25 feel that the cash bail system is outdated, classist, racist, and ultimately unfair. Since poorer people may not be able to afford to pay their way out of jail, supporters of Prop. 25 feel that the bail bond industry is taking advantage of people.

Opponents of Prop. 25 can be found on both sides of the argument, with the voices of the bail bond industry being the loudest and asking why the change system that we already have in place? Bail bondsmen are not the only opponents, however, as some civil rights activists feel that the replacement algorithm may come with its own set of new racist and unfair attributes causing people of color to still stay in jail disproportionately longer than their white counterparts.

Prop. 25 was defeated with 55% of voters voting no and 44% voting yes in favor of ending cash bail.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Nov. 24  to reflect new information.