Good morning, California. It’s Wednesday, November 4.

What we know so far

What a night.

After hours of refreshing election results and drinking way too many cups of coffee, here’s what we know about how California’s 12 statewide propositions are faring so far.

Two ballot measures passed and three failed, according to the Associated Press. Of the remaining seven, one is leading, three are falling behind, and another three are too close to call. Here are the latest numbers from CalMatters’ live tracker, which also tracks results for state Assembly, state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives races:


  • Prop. 17, allow parolees to vote: 59.0% yes, 41.0% no
  • Prop. 22, gig-worker classification: 58.4% yes, 41.6% no


  • Prop. 20, expand criminal penalties: 37.7% yes, 62.3% no
  • Prop. 21, rent control: 40.2% yes, 59.8% no
  • Prop. 23, regulate dialysis clinics: 36.0% yes, 64.0% no


  • Prop. 24, more data privacy: 56.1% yes, 43.9% no

Falling behind:

  • Prop. 16, reinstate affirmative action: 43.9% yes, 56.1% no
  • Prop. 18, allow some 17-year-olds to vote: 44.9% yes, 55.1% no
  • Prop. 25, eliminate cash bail: 44.6% yes, 55.4% no

Too close to call:

  • Prop. 14, bonds for stem cell research: 51.1% yes, 48.9% no
  • Prop. 15, hike commercial property taxes: 48.3% yes, 51.7% no
  • Prop. 19, property tax breaks: 51.5% yes, 48.5% no

Meanwhile, we still don’t know who the next President of the United States will be — but the latest Associated Press tally pegs former Vice President Joe Biden at 238 electoral college votes and President Donald Trump at 213, with 270 needed to win. The results were a little clearer in California, where Biden had at last count claimed 65.2% of the vote. If he wins the Golden State by 36 points, it would be the largest victory margin for a Democratic presidential candidate in state history.

For a more comprehensive post-mortem of California’s election night, check out this report from CalMatters’ Ben Christopher.


The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Tuesday night, California had 934,672 confirmed coronavirus cases and 17,686 deaths from the virus, according to a CalMatters tracker.

Also: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline tracking the state’s daily actions. And we’re tracking the state’s coronavirus hospitalizations by county.


1. Uber, Lyft notch major victory

Image via iStock

Buckle up: The battle over the future of gig work in California got a lot more intense Tuesday night, when voters approved Prop. 22 — apparently overturning a recent court ruling that ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify their independent contractor drivers as employees in order to comply with a new state labor law. The gig-economy giants, which have battled California over the law for nearly a year, poured a record $206 million into the Yes on 22 campaign, claiming the title of the most expensive ballot campaign in U.S. history

  • Jan Krueger, a part-time Lyft driver from Rancho Cordova and a member of the Yes on 22 campaign: “This vote in one of the most progressive states in the country should send a strong signal to elected leaders all over the nation. Drivers want and need to be independent.”
  • Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation and a member of the No on 22 campaign: “The obscene amount of money these multibillion dollar corporations spent misleading the public doesn’t absolve them of their duty to pay drivers a living wage … or repay taxpayers for the nearly half a billion these companies have cheated from our state unemployment fund.”

The battle between California and the gig companies seems unlikely to end here. Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat and author of the labor law from which Uber and Lyft apparently won an exemption, tweeted Tuesday night, “Fighting corporate greed & unlimited spending is never easy, but we do it. Over & over & over again. And, don’t worry, I got some ideas.”

2. A calm Election Day

A voter places an ‘I voted’ sticker on her jacket after dropping off her ballot at New Hope Church in Vacaville on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Despite widespread fears of voter intimidation and potential unrest, Election Day and night passed pretty calmly in California. There were a few hiccups — including a set of keys left in the lock of an Orange County ballot dropbox, several complaints about robocalls spreading election misinformation, and a few partisan poll watchers who appeared to be intimidating voters — but overall, in-person voting went “very smooth,” poll workers told CalMatters Votebeat reporters. With Californians on track to cast a record number of votes, here’s a snapshot of some of the residents who cast their ballots.

  • Nickolas Smith, 73, of Visalia: “I voted straight Republican in honor” of a family friend who recently passed away.
  • Paula Williams, 52, a homeless resident of San Francisco: “It’s letting them know that I am a citizen and I would like to be part of helping them fix the city.”
  • Fernanda Tortoledo, 21, of West Fresno: “I have friends who don’t have papers, so we have to vote for them.”


CalMatters commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Newsom still enjoys high approval ratings. But if California’s governance shortcomings continue to mount, a Republican challenger might just have a chance.

Combat labor trafficking: California must improve its efforts to prosecute labor traffickers and prioritize victim services, argue Pedro Nava, Cynthia Buiza and Dion Aroner of the Little Hoover Commission.

Reform the Brown Act: Given the likelihood that Californians will not return to in-person public meetings before 2022, we must bring the Brown Act into the post-pandemic age, writes Shawn Landres of the Santa Monica Planning Commission.

Other things worth your time

Leading school superintendents ask Newsom for ‘common standard’ to reopen schools. // EdSource

Los Angeles County’s hope for fast reopening fades as coronavirus cases continue to climb. // Los Angeles Times

San Diego County needs some serious testing to stay in the red tier this week. // San Diego Union-Tribune

San Francisco contact tracing reached more than 80% of patients in the spring. // San Francisco Chronicle

Eight California mayors call on Newsom to reopen Disneyland, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. // Orange County Register

Los Angeles and Orange counties had the second-largest joblessness jump among the U.S.’ largest metropolitan areas this year. // Orange County Register

Why homelessness is more visible than ever in downtown Sacramento. // Sacramento Bee

See you tomorrow.

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Emily Hoeven wrote the daily WhatMatters newsletter for three years at CalMatters . Her reporting, essays, and opinion columns have been published in San Francisco Weekly, the Deseret News, the San Francisco...