Madd on Politics: 2022 California Ballot Propositions

By Maddon Hoh-Choi

All Seven 2022 CA Ballot Propositions

Mr. Buran, Westmont’s AP Government teacher, often reminds us that “we don’t live in a democracy.” He’s right. Instead of voting on every law and policy that governs the country, we elect representatives who vote for — and implement — them for us. 

However, there’s an exception to that rule: ballot measures! In 36 states across the country, citizens can vote on ballot propositions that create new laws, approve state constitutional amendments, or veto executive action.

This November, there will be seven ballot propositions in California: six that were put on the ballot by voter petitions, and one by the legislature. In this issue of The Shield, I’ll explore the seven propositions that CA voters will decide on November 8th: what they do, who they’re supported by, and how likely they are to be approved.


SAFE = Close to a 100% chance of victory 

LIKELY= Heavily favored to win but an upset is theoretically possible

LEAN = One side favored, but either side could win 

TOSSUP = Neither side is favored; either can win 

Proposition 1: Adding Abortion and Conception Safeguards in the State Constitution

Protest in Favor of Protecting Abortion Rights

CADEM Position: Support 

CAGOP Position: Oppose

Yes on Prop 1 Campaign Spending: $3.2 M 

No on Prop 1 Campaign Spending: $0

About: In June, the Supreme Court issued the Dobbs decision, reversing Roe v Wade and ending the constitutional right to an abortion. The conservative justices ruled that states (and possibly the federal government) are now allowed to pass complete and total bans on abortion.

The California Legislature’s Democratic supermajority responded by placing on the ballot a constitutional amendment, which would enshrine the right to choose to have an abortion and access contraception in the CA state constitution. Although the right to an abortion is already protected by a state statute, this proposed amendment would further protect the right in the State Constitution. California is preparing for an influx of out-of-state women who seek an abortion — such as from nearby states like Idaho, which recently passed a near-total abortion ban.

Polls have found that California’s liberal electorate (and even some Republican voters) are overwhelmingly backing the proposition. With a huge lead in the polls and a virtually non-existent No campaign, Prop 1 will easily pass this November.  

Rating: SAFE Yes on Prop 1 

Proposition 26: Allowing Sports Gambling at Reservation Casinos and Horse Racing Tracks

Ad in Favor of Prop 26 and Against Prop 27

CADEM Position: Neutral

CAGOP Position: Oppose 

Yes on Prop 26 Campaign Spending: $59 M

No on Prop 26 Campaign Spending: $43 M

About: In 2018, the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting. Since then, more than 36 states have legalized it (including our neighbors: Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona). Now, California’s Native American tribes are backing this proposition to make California next on the map. As reported by Politico, “The measure would not only make tribal casinos and racetracks the home for sports betting in California but also allow tribes to offer new games like roulette and craps.”

Controversially, the measure would also allow tribes to sue cardrooms that allegedly offer illegal games like blackjack. This last provision led the San Jose City Council to unanimously vote to oppose Prop 26 because it would likely have a negative impact on local casinos like Casino M8trix and Bay 101, from whom the city collects 16.5% in revenue tax.

California has voted to expand gambling in the past, but the large spending against this proposition and for its rival, Prop 27, leads to great uncertainty when predicting whether or not Prop 26 will pass. 

Rating: TOSSUP on Prop 26

Proposition 27: Allowing Sports Betting Online

Ad in favor of Prop 27

CADEM Position: Oppose

CAGOP Position: Oppose

Yes on Prop 27 Campaign Spending: $160 M

No on Prop 27 Campaign Spending: $150 M

About: This one is likely the only proposition you’ve heard of before you clicked on this article. Most YouTube users have gotten bombarded with ads for this proposition, which tout its potential benefits for small tribes and reductions in homelessness while also legalizing online sports betting.

Despite the ads highlighting the small tribes that have endorsed the proposition, Prop 27 is almost entirely financially backed by online sports betting companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, and some Las Vegas Casinos. As Politico reported, the proposition would “create extremely high hurdles for entry into the online market, giving the companies near complete control.” 

In a somewhat rare instance of the CAGOP agreeing with CA Democrats, both the state’s major parties agreed to oppose the proposition. This ballot proposition was also denounced by the San Jose City Council over concerns that it would hurt local businesses. However, the San Jose Spotlight has reported that the measure’s supporters include “homeless advocacy groups like Bay Area Community Services, the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, and mayors from Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno, and Long Beach.” Despite the proposition gaining support from some local leaders and organizations across the state, Governor Newsom has maintained that Prop 27 “is not a homeless initiative.” 

The strange lack of an ideological divide on the issue complicates predicting a result. Overall though, the large amounts of spending in favor of the Yes campaign leads me to believe that Prop 27 is more likely than not to pass. 

Rating: LEAN Yes on Prop 27

Proposition 28: Funding for Arts and Music PK-12

Arts and Music Illustration

CADEM Position: Support

CAGOP Position: Neutral

Yes on Prop 28 Campaign Spending: $9.8 M

No on Prop 28 Campaign Spending: $0

About: The simplest — and for students, the most relatable — proposition on the ballot is Prop 28, which establishes minimum funding for arts and music education, and reserves more funds for school districts based on their share of economically disadvantaged students. I suppose opposing arts and music programs for kids isn’t popular, because literally no money has been spent against this proposition. Prop 28 will easily pass this November and public K-12 art/music students and teachers across the state can celebrate an easy victory. 

Rating: SAFE Yes on Prop 28

Proposition 29: Kidney Dialysis Reform

A Kidney Dialysis Procedure

CADEM Position: Support

CAGOP Position: Oppose

Yes on Prop 29 Campaign Spending: $7.8 M

No on Prop 29 Campaign Spending: $86 M

About: Once again, Californians will vote on a proposition strengthening kidney dialysis clinic regulations. CalMatters reported that this measure would require: a registered physician to be on site, centers to get state approval for shuttering or reducing services, and to publicly list any doctors who have a large ownership stake in a clinic.

Both in 2018, and 2020, this measure was defeated in a landslide, and it looks increasingly likely that CA voters will reject it once more. The Yes campaign, supported by the SEIU healthcare worker union, is facing a massive fundraising gap, being outraised by more than 78 million dollars from dialysis companies and the California Chamber of Commerce. With massive funding against the proposition and a California electorate tired of seeing it on the ballot, Prop 29 is very likely to fail for a third time. 

Rating: LIKELY No on 29

Proposition 30: Increasing Taxes to Expand Clean Air Investments 

An Electric Vehicle Charging

CADEM Position: Support

CAGOP Position: Oppose

Yes on Prop 30 Campaign Spending: $17 M

No on Prop 30 Campaign Spending: $2.1 M

About: An interesting coalition of the CA Association of Electrical Workers, CA Environmental Voters, Uber, and Lyft is supporting Prop 30, which would increase taxes on multi-millionaires to fund multiple greenhouse gas-reducing initiatives. CalMatters reported that most of the money would go toward increasing incentives for Californians to buy “zero-emission vehicles and building new electric charging or hydrogen fueling stations.” Also, 20% of the revenue would go toward wildfire prevention. 

Despite support from the CA Democratic Party, a strange alliance of the California Teachers Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (an anti-tax group), and Governor Newsom is leading the opposition to this measure. Newsom and the CTA have stated that they oppose this proposition because they believe it is a scheme by Lyft to make taxpayers subsidize its car fleet electrification that the State Government mandated be completed by 2030.

Overall, a weariness to increased taxes, strange coalitions in favor and against, and an ongoing climate crisis all create uncertainty in the fate of Prop 30.

Rating: TOSSUP on Prop 30

Proposition 31: Keeping Flavored Tobacco Ban 

Person Uses a Vape Pen

CADEM Position: Support 

CAGOP Position: Oppose 

Yes on Prop 31 Campaign Spending: $6.1 M

No on Prop 31 Campaign Spending: $23 M 

About: In 2020, California banned the sale of almost all flavored tobacco products. However, the tobacco industry gathered enough voter signatures last year to initiate a referendum on whether the ban should be allowed to continue.

The major backers of the Yes Campaign (who advocate for keeping the ban in place) are healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente and former NYC mayor and Presidential Candidate, Michael Bloomberg. However, the No campaign — which consists of R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, and the National Association of Tobacco Outlets — has outspent the Yes campaign by $16.9 million so far.

Considering that tobacco sales disproportionately target African American communities, this campaign could profoundly impact equity in public health. Overall, the large spending advantage from the No campaign leads me to believe that Prop 31 is slightly favored to fail, and the flavored tobacco ban will be repealed. 

Rating: LEAN No on Prop 31

Conclusion: For this year’s seven ballot measures, CA Democrats have mostly Yes endorsements, and the CAGOP is mostly endorsing No. However, despite California being a deep blue state, CA Dem-supported ballot measures don’t always have the best track record of success.

Though CA Democrats are certain to maintain their legislative majorities and win every statewide office (see Madd on Politics: 2022 California Statewide Elections for more information), they might take some big losses on the other side of the ballot this year. 

Special thanks to Politico for tracking this year’s proposition campaign spending.