Voter Engagement

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VOTERS CONTACTED FOR MARCH 2020 PRIMARY ELECTION

voter engagement

Due to our voter engagement efforts, our neighborhoods vote at nearly twice the rate of the county average. Our task is to mobilize tens of thousands of African-American and Latino voters to the ballot box. We know that a community that votes is a community that will be heard.

In January 2020, Community Coalition made a commitment to organize our members to step up and have a voice.  Specifically, we curated opportunities for empowerment – including Solidarity Days, Ballot Watches, People’s First Assemblies, Open Houses, and House Meetings. Over 730 members turned out and more than 22,000 were contacted for the March 2020 Presidential Primary Election.

As we prepare for November’s election, we’ve seen Black and Brown voting rights come under attack across the nation. With so much on the line locally and nationally for communities of color, we are committed to battling voter suppression in all its forms. From the lack of voting center locations in Los Angeles to fighting the Republican National Committee when it tried to deny citizens the right to vote-by-mail, Community Coalition remains vigilant and ready to take action.

The following measures will have particularly far reaching impact on communities of color throughout the state.

Schools & Communities First—Proposition 15

Community Coalition—as part of the powerful Schools and Communities First statewide coalition and in partnership with more than 270 endorsing community organizations, labor unions, business leaders, philanthropic foundations and elected officials—worked tirelessly to collect enough signatures to be able to qualify our historic ballot initiative to close the corporate tax loophole across California. In April of this year, the Schools & Communities First campaign submitted more than 1.7 million signatures of support to qualify for the November 2020 ballot. 

This was historic because it was the most signatures ever submitted in California for a ballot initiative. We can no longer afford to keep giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. Closing California’s commercial property tax loophole restores $12 billion for schools, community colleges and other vital community services, including emergency responder services, parks, libraries, health clinics, trauma centers, affordable housing, homeless services, and roads.

Repealing Affirmative Action—Proposition 16

This ballot measure is comprised of nine words. It is short and to the point—repeal Proposition 209. Almost a quarter century ago (1996), this amendment to the California Constitution allowed implicit bias as it relates to race, ethnicity and gender to become entrenched in awarding government contracts and admitting students to California’s colleges and universities. As social justice activists have recently demanded an end to systemic racism, leaders in Sacramento added Prop 16 to the ballot to address deeply rooted inequities that have taken centerstage locally, nationally and globally.

Restoring Voting Rights to System Impacted People—Proposition 17

California allows people on probation to vote, but denies people on parole that same right until parole is completed. This measure was also placed on the upcoming ballot by the CA Legislature, and, if passed, would put an end to an unfair distinction that suppresses the voting rights of those impacted by the justice system.

Vote@17—Proposition 18

At 16 and 17, students are taking civics and government classes in their high schools, which makes it a perfect time for them to exercise their voting rights through real world experience. Young people across California are leading the “Vote at 16” movement because they believe it is critical to making sure young adults develop the habit of voting earlier and often. Studies have shown that when young voters participate in their first few consecutive elections, they are more likely to become lifetime voters which can only strengthen our democracy over time.

Proposition 20: Rollbacks on Parole

Proposition 47, an initiative that reduced the classification of most “non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor, was passed in 2014. It permitted re-sentencing for people currently serving a prison sentence for offenses that the initiative reduced. In 2016, Proposition 57—which was an initiative that allowed parole consideration for nonviolent felons, changes policies on juvenile prosecution, and authorized sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, and education—was also passed. 

Both laws were highly controversial, dividing elected officials and citizens over whether the laws were the right step in reducing the prison population and promoting rehabilitation. Some argued that 47 and 57 would lead to an escalation in crime by repeat offenders.

Prop 20 would place new limits on some of the sentence reductions that were included in Proposition 47 and Proposition 57. It would allow some theft-related crimes to be charged as felonies and it would create two new crimes: serial theft (applicable only to a select list of crimes and to defendants who have prior convictions for certain crimes) and organized retail theft (two or more people involved in some theft crimes within a 180-day period). Both offenses could result in jail time.

Proposition 20 would also:

        1. Change the 2016 parole law that blocked those convicted of crimes, including human trafficking and solicitation, from being considered for early release,
        2. Change some of the rules that must be followed by the state Board of Parole Hearings and community probation programs, 
        3. And expand DNA testing to require samples be taken from some people convicted of theft and domestic violence.

Proposition 21: Rent Control

All over the country, activists have been protesting the high costs of rent. And as renters face the end of their financial rope due to Covid-19, Proposition 21 becomes a tool in the fight to preserve affordable housing.

Proposition 21 would allow cities and counties to apply rent control to housing that is more than 15 years old, with the exception of some single-family homes. The ballot measure would allow local governments to impose limits on rent increases when a new renter moved in. The bill would replace any local rent control rules. In Los Angeles, for example, it could mean many more housing units would be eligible for limits on what a landlord could charge.

Proposition 25: Cash Bail

This is a special ballot measure asking voters to approve or reject a law passed by the Legislature. If passed, the law would eliminate the practice of offering cash to those who can’t afford to pay for early release. Instead, the law would allow judges to decide who can be released before trial. Defendants deemed to be a danger to the community could be held under a policy known as “preventive detention.” Civil rights groups say that “preventative detention” is biased towards people of color.

Voting “yes” on this measure will end cash bail. Voting “no” will keep cash bail in place.