Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R on Tuesday 70% to 30% according to unofficial election night results. The measure was put on the ballot through a successful initiative petition campaign that submitted 247,000 signatures to the county clerk. Measure R tasks the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission with developing a plan designed to reduce the jail population and re-incarceration rates. It also grants the Commission subpoena power to investigate complaints made against the department. Going into the election, a majority of the nine-member commission needed to vote to request the Office of the Inspector General to subpoena documents or witnesses. Measure R gave the subpoena power directly to the Commission.
Reform LA Jails led the support campaign, Yes on R. As of January 2020, the committee had raised $1.9 million in contributions. Cari Tuna, the president of Open Philanthropy Project and Good Ventures, provided $1.2 million. Yes on R received endorsements from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva came out in opposition to the measure, stating, “Measure R will open the floodgates for many more ill-advised lawsuits designed to seek documents that are not legally available for public release. … The Board of Supervisors, the Inspector General and the Civilian Oversight Commission would better serve the community by working collaboratively with the Sheriff’s Department.” Ballotpedia did not identify any campaign committees registered in opposition to the measure.