California Voters Embrace Uber and Lyft While Rejecting Rent Control and Affirmative Action
California may consistently rate as one of the country’s bluest, most progressive, most union-dominated states, but Tuesday’s ballot initiative results show the state’s voters are much more complex.
Voters appear to be embracing Proposition 22, which will allow ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber and food delivery services like Grubhub to continue to classify drivers as independent workers. With 55 percent of the vote counted, voters are approving Prop. 22 by 57.7 percent.
That’s a huge blow to union-driven A.B. 5, a law that attempted to eliminate most freelance and contract work in the state and to force all employers to hire these contractors as workers and pay them benefits. The law has already been gutted with a host of exemptions. A.B. 5 was specifically designed to go after companies like Uber. Prop. 22’s passage is a big thumb in the eye to the state’s unions (and a boon to the state’s many independent workers).
Voters are also rejecting Prop. 16, which would reinstate affirmative action in state government and college admissions. Supporters argued that this change would improve diversity in college admissions, but the data show that, in reality, California colleges have dramatically increased campus diversity without having to resort to affirmative action or quotas. Right now, 54.6 percent of voters are rejecting it.
Another big loser is yet another attempt to expand the use of rent control in the state. It seems like a lot of people in California understand that the problem with high rent in the state is due to a lack of housing supply which is driving costs up. Right now, 58.4 percent are voting no.
Proposition 17, which restores the right of felons to vote when they’re released on parole, is also likely getting passed. It’s got 60.3 percent approval with voters.
But another criminal justice reform referendum is in trouble. Proposition 25, which would replace cash bail across the state with a risk assessment system, is losing. Right now, with 55 percent of the vote counted, more than 54 percent of voters have said no.
Every incumbent governor—nine of them—who was up for reelection this evening has won. Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee was quickly declared the winner by the Associated Press as votes were counted. With 58 percent of the vote counted, he’s up 59.5 percent over Republican challenger Loren Culp.
Only one state, Montana, may see a change in the political party of its leadership. Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, is out due to term limits. Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney wants to succeed him, but GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte is putting up a tough fight. With 34 percent of the vote counted, Gianforte is ahead of Cooney, 49.2 percent to 47.3 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Lyman Bishop is bringing in 3.5 percent of the vote.
The other big state story tonight is that every single ballot initiative that scales back the drug war appears to have won or is currently solidly ahead. Voters in Arizona, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana all appear to be legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana for recreational or medical use. Oregon and District of Columbia voters are doing the same for psilocybin mushrooms.
Oklahoma voters have rejected a reform measure that would have likely reduced sentence lengths for some people convicted of non-violent felonies.
Oklahoma law allows prosecutors to seek enhanced sentences whenever somebody convicted of a felony had previously been convicted of a felony. State Question 805 would have prohibited these sentencing enhancements for non-violent felonies but would keep them for violent felonies. The distinction didn’t appear to matter to Oklahoma voters. With 93 percent of the vote counted, the Associated Press reports voters have rejected the reforms, with 61 percent voting no.
And in Louisiana, voters have passed a state constitutional referendum declaring that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
Elsewhere, there doesn’t appear to be any budging in governors. The Associated Press reports that North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will
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