by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-L.A.
If you haven’t voted yet by mail or in early in-person voting, it’s not too late! The on-line registration deadline to vote in November in CA has passed, but California does allow voter registration and casting a provisional ballot at polling places right up to Election Day, Tuesday Nov. 3. In California, where Biden-Harris are a foregone conclusion, the presidential ballot is the only place where you will see third-party candidates on the general election ballot because CA’s “open-primary” for the top two candidates eliminates them from appearing in November. Because the presidential candidates are party-nominated, you have the opportunity to vote socialist for Gloria La Riva with Peace and Freedom or Howie Hawkins as the Green.
In addition to voting, we need to prepare for community defense and resistance against white supremacist violence, intimidation and voter suppression, no matter what the outcome of the presidential election. Peoples Strike and other coalitions are calling for counter-coup actions. See https://peoplesstrike.org for more information about a Pledge of Resistance and about actions on Nov. 4 and in every state capital on Nov. 7.
The so-called “down ballot” races — everything else but electors for president/vice-president tickets — is where the electoral action is, and they actually come first on the physical or digital ballot. There are very important local and county elections, especially here in L.A.
The struggle to dislodge District Attorney Jackie Lacey reaches a culmination in the general election after she was forced into a run-off in the primary thanks to concerted opposition, particularly by Black Lives Matter LA and the families of people killed by law enforcement in the county — over 600 people murdered by cops and deputies without a prosecution. Lacey has also continued to seek the death penalty even though the governor has declared a moratorium. Under her watch, L.A. has put more people on death row than any other county in CA and perhaps the country, and they have all been Black or Brown/Raza individuals. Lacey has received massive donations from the cop unions seeking to keep her in power to have their backs in cases where even the police chief or Police Commission has found the killings unjustifiable. Regardless of opinions or expectations about her challenger, #JackieLaceyMustGo!
Other County and City Races
Also on the L.A. County ballot is measure J, to redirect funds from county tax collections to non-carceral needs, such as housing, education, health care and jobs. Its passage will guarantee a significant percentage would be devoted to such matters instead of the sheriff, DA and jails.
There are also a number of democratic socialist candidates who made it into the top two races in L.A., Burbank and elsewhere. Information about Nithya Raman for City Council in LA and others are here: https://dsa-la.org/endorsements/
There are also a number of statewide measures on the CA ballot of great importance. Even if you hate the state (and we do), cast your vote on these measures:
STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURES
Yes on 15 to eliminate the discriminatory real estate tax preference for corporate and industrial property (like Disneyland) which never changes hands is thus taxed at assessed values from the 1970s, a huge tax giveaway to those corporations that has robbed schools and municipalities of tens of millions of dollars over the years. 15 would create a “split roll” for property taxes so individual homeowners would not get taxed out of their homes, but corporations would pay their fair share based on the increasing value of (and income generated by) their landholdings.
Yes on 16 to allow the positive good of diversity to be taken into account in public employment, education and contracting decisions. Since affirmative action (which is NOT a quota system) has been outlawed in California, Black enrollment in the state’s university system has plummeted. This is a racial justice measure.
Yes on 17 to restore the voting rights of Californians on parole release from prison. Probationers, and parolees from federal prison or other state jurisdictions who live in CA can vote; this would equalize the situation of those on parole after serving a CA state prison sentence and put an end to s discriminatory disenfranchisement, which disproportionately affects Black and Brown men and women.
Yes on 18 which allows 17-year-olds who are going to be 18 by the time of a general election to vote in the immediately prior primary election. CA moved its primary to much earlier in the year to try to impact the presidential nomination, and in the process disenfranchised many young voters (again, disproportionately BIPOC). Also, CA basically limits “third parties” only to the primary election ballot by allowing only the top two candidates to advance to the general election, so the only real choice is in the primary.
Big NO! on 20 to increase penalties for some non-violent offenses, and backed by cops, prison guards and (because it lower the threshold for treating some shoplifting as a felony) by some grocery chains. Trying to turn back the clock on decriminalization and decarceration in CA.
Yes on 21 to allow localities to cover more housing with new rent control laws (though the residences would still have to be at least 15 years old). The subject of a well-funded smear campaign by big apartment property owners.
No on 22, put on the ballot and financed grotesquely by Uber, Lyft and Instacart to allow them to continue to treat drivers as independent contractors, which the state Supreme Court just ruled is illegal. Also being promoted by a massive deceptive ad campaign.
No on 25 per the recommendation of most on-the-ground racial justice orgs locally and statewide (though some progressives are urging a yes vote). This is a referendum on Senate Bill 10, which was originated by grassroots justice groups to end cash bail and allow people to get own-recognizance release prior to trial, which has been demonstrated to reduced coerced guilty pleas and allow accused suspects to maintain their jobs and community ties. Corporate liberals twisted the bill before passage, to install a racially-biased algorithm to control whether a judge would release the arrestee, and so groups like LA CAN, Black Lives Matter and others are urging a NO vote (even though that dovetails with the position of the bail bonds and insurance industry).