Ever since Hiram Johnson and his fellow Progressives made ballot initiatives a part of the California political landscape 100 years ago, the state’s voters have been obliged to grasp some fairly slippery policy issues before casting their votes.
Propositions 30 and 38 on the November ballot are representative of the thorny problems other states assign to their legislators, but in California are punted to voters as popular referendums.
Both propositions aim to send more money to the state’s public schools, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. For typical voters, even those who care deeply about public education, deciphering the long-term consequences of a simple for or against vote could require hours sifting through the arcana of school finance.
Fortunately, the folks over at EdSource did the hard work for us. They’ve prepared an infographic to explain the two propositions in a clear and illustrative format. As EdSource’s executive director Louis Freedberg noted in his accompanying blog, when voters are confused, they tend to vote against propositions—even propositions they might have supported had they possessed more knowledge.
Voters seeking yet more info on the initiatives can visit the Official Voter Information Guide, as well as analyses from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Budget Project, and the League of Women Voters. They can also go to the official campaign websites of Prop. 30 and Prop. 38.
Editor’s Note: CaliforniaChoices.org, a clearinghouse for governance reform issues, also offers an online endorsement table to show voters which groups, political parties, and unions are supporting which propositions.