78% fewer local ballot measures than average on Nov. 2 ballots in California

Welcome to the Thursday, October 7, Brew. 

By: Emily Aubert

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Previewing local ballot measures on Nov. 2 ballots in California
  2. How much do you know about local elections?
  3. SCOTUS declines to hear seven public-sector union cases

Previewing local ballot measures on Nov. 2 ballots in California

On Nov. 2, voters in 15 different cities, school districts, and special districts in 10 different California counties will decide 16 local ballot measures.

Since 2009, the average number of local California ballot measures on the November ballot in odd-numbered years has been 74. There were 45 in 2019, down from 62 in 2017.

Here’s a quick rundown of the measures on the ballot:

  1. One measure concerns election dates for a school district in Los Angeles County.
  2. One measure in Woodside is a citizen initiative related to parking and gathering places in residentially zoned areas.
  3. One measure in Santa Cruz would allocate 20 percent of the revenue generated by a marijuana business tax approved by voters in 2014 to youth and early childhood development programs and services.
  4. The remaining 13 measures would approve tax increases or renewals.

Nov. 2 is the seventh local ballot measure election date in California so far in 2021. Including the 16 measures on the ballot in November, Ballotpedia has covered 43 local ballot measures in California in 2021. In 2019, there were 78. In 2017, there were 135. The average number of local measures during even-numbered years was 759 over the last three cycles. 

On Nov. 2, Ballotpedia is covering over 110 local ballot measures on the ballot in 35 states. These include local measures within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S. and all state capitals, including those outside the top 100 largest cities. Ballotpedia is also covering a selection of notable police-related and election-related measures outside of the top 100 largest cities. Ballotpedia has comprehensively covered ballot measures in California since 2010.

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How much do you know about local elections?

In our briefing yesterday, staff writer Amee LaTour shared with us the themes our team has been tracking in local elections across the country.

That conversation got us thinking: How do our readers research and find information about their down-ballot elections? To that end, we’re looking for five minutes of your time to take a quick survey. How do you learn about what is on your ballot? We’d appreciate it if you took our short survey below. 

We are grateful for your time and feedback. Your input will help our ability to continue to expand and improve Ballotpedia’s election content.

Please let us know your thoughts on how you learn about your ballot!

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SCOTUS declines to hear seven public-sector union cases

Ballotpedia produces a weekly newsletter, Union Station, detailing activities in the public-sector union space. Last week’s issue delved into the SCOTUS landscape. In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary:

Appellants have filed petitions for writs of certiorari—requests for the Supreme Court to review a lower court’s ruling—in 15 of the public-sector union cases Ballotpedia is tracking this term. So far, the Supreme Court has declined to hear seven of these cases. 

On Sept. 27, the court held its first conference for the 2021-22 term. Often called the “long conference,” this is when the court reviews outstanding petitions filed during the previous term or during the summer. The court released the order list for cases considered during this conference on Oct. 4. Thirteen of the 15 petitions we’re tracking were distributed to the justices for this conference, and seven petitions were denied. 

The Supreme Court receives around 7,000 to 8,000 petitions every year. During its past five terms, the court has agreed to hear an average of 71 cases per term.  

Since the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, Ballotpedia has tracked close to 150 lawsuits in federal and state courts, 33 of which have been appealed to the Supreme Court. So far, the court has not heard any of these petitions. During its 2020-2021 term, the court denied 12 petitions. During its 2019-2020 term, it declined to hear four, and during its 2018-2019 term, it declined to hear two.

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