Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Looking back—CA voters approved 62% of local measures in 2020

62% approval rate for California’s 2020 local ballot measures

Ballotpedia’s annual report on California local ballot measures is out. We’ve been covering all local ballot measures in California since 2008. California voters decided 719 local ballot measures across seven election dates last year. Below are some highlights from the report. 

  • Voters approved 62.4% percent of California’s local measures in 2020, which was 14 and 15 percentage points lower than their approval rates in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
  • Local ballot measures were in every California county in 2020 but one (Modoc County). Los Angeles County had the most measures at 109. The median number of measures per county was nine.
  • There were 191 local bond issues on ballots across California in 2020. Of that total, 182 (95.8%) were school bond issues.
    • The 50.5% approval rate for 2020 school bond measures was the lowest in any even-numbered year since at least 2008. The average approval rate for school bond measures in even-numbered years from 2008 through 2018 was 83%.
  • In addition to the local bond measures, California voters defeated a statewide $15 billion school and college facilities bond measure—Proposition 13—on Mar. 3. Proposition 13 was the first statewide education-related bond issue that voters rejected since 1994.
  • Voters in two cities in California approved measures to enact ranked-choice voting for city elections.
  • There were eight local measures concerning law enforcement policies, police oversight, police practices, or law enforcement budgeting, not including tax measures designed to provide funding for law enforcement services. Voters approved all eight measures.

Keep reading at the link below for the full 2020 California ballot measures report.

California voters also decided 13 statewide ballot measures. Click here to read more about the 2020 statewide measures.

Four candidates file to run for St. Louis mayor in first primary of its kind

Four candidates filed to run in the nonpartisan top-two primary for St. Louis mayor on Mar. 2. This will be the first time the city utilizes approval voting for its primary, a method in which voters choose any number of candidates to vote for. For instance, if there are four candidates on the ballot, a voter may select up to all four candidates. The two candidates who receive the most votes then advance to the general election. Approval voting was first passed via Proposition D on Nov. 3, 2020.

The candidates for the open seat are 2017 mayoral candidate Andrew Jones, St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Alderman President Lewis Reed, and Alderwoman Cara Spencer. 

Candidates of all political affiliations will run in the primary election without partisan labels. Andrew Jones ran as a Republican candidate in 2017, and Tishaura Jones, Reed, and Spencer have previously run for office as Democrats. 

Incumbent Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) announced on Nov. 18, 2020, that she would not seek re-election. Krewson became the city’s first female mayor after winning election in April 2017 with more than 67% of the vote. 

The last 10 mayors of St. Louis have all been Democrats. The last time a Republican held the mayor’s office was Aloys Kaufmann, who was mayor from 1943 to 1949.

Thirty-one cities in the top 100 cities by population are holding mayoral elections in 2021. Heading into the elections, the partisan breakdown of the mayors is 64 Democrats, 25 Republicans, four independents, and seven nonpartisan.

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Voter registration deadline for Rhode Island bond election approaches

Rhode Island is holding a bond election on Mar. 2, and the voter registration deadline is Jan. 31. The deadline to apply for a mail ballot is Feb. 9.

The Rhode Island Legislature referred seven bond questions totaling $400 million to the ballot as part of the state budget approved in December. To put a legislatively referred bond question before voters, a simple majority vote is required in both the Rhode Island state Senate and the Rhode Island House of Representatives. 

Between 2008 and 2020, voters in Rhode Island decided 22 bond measures, totaling $1.3 billion in principal value. Voters approved 100% of the bond measures, with support ranging from 55.23% (Question 2 of 2010) to 83.89% (Question 3 of 2016). The last odd-year bond election in Rhode Island was in 1985 when nine bond measures were approved.

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