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Your guide to California policy and politics
BY Emily Hoeven November 8, 2022
Presented by Climate-Smart Agricultural Partnership, Californians Against Higher Taxes, Save our Capitol and Sutter Health

Election Day is here. Results could take longer

Cast your vote today or forever hold your peace — well, at least until the next election.

Polls close at 8 p.m. tonight in California’s general election, but don’t expect to know the outcome of every race right away: Although ballots can be processed as early as seven days before Election Day, they can’t actually be counted until polls close. Meanwhile, mail-in ballots postmarked by today will be counted through Nov. 15. And more time is needed to process ballots cast by those who register to vote today.

  • Secretary of State Shirley Weber said in a statement: “By law, county election officials have 30 days to count every valid ballot and conduct a post-election audit. … We have a process that by law ensures both voting rights and the integrity of elections, so I would call on all Californians to be patient.”
  • Weber added: “This process includes the verification of signatures on every vote-by-mail ballot envelope, the processing of same-day voter registrations, the processing of provisional ballots, and reaching out to voters to provide opportunities for voters to cure missing or mismatched signatures.”

But while California’s final election results won’t be certified until mid-December, the outcome of most races — apart from particularly close ones — should be clear tonight, Weber said.

  • Political consultant Michael Trujillo told the Los Angeles Times: “If your race is within 10 points at the end of election night, it’s probably premature to call it a win. If you’re up 20 (points), you’re probably safe.”

If you have yet to cast your ballot, make sure to check out CalMatters’ nonpartisan Voter Guide. And if you’re anxiously awaiting results, bookmark CalMatters’ election results tracker, which offers critical context and live results for top-line races, including governor, attorney general, U.S. senator, key seats in the state Legislature and U.S. House and the seven statewide propositions.

2022 Election

Latest coverage of the 2022 general election in California

Election eve, meanwhile, was relatively calm across California.

CalMatters political reporter Sameea Kamal checked in with elections offices across the state and found that apart from rainy weather and some printer jams, operations were running smoothly.

The campaign front also seemed relatively conflict-free, as Vice President Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom headlined Monday get-out-the-vote events in Southern California and the California Republican Party held rallies in Orange and San Diego counties.

The largest day-before kerfuffle may have been over Proposition 30, a controversial ballot measure that would levy a new tax on millionaires to fund electric vehicle programs and hire more firefighters. The initiative has become infamous for its strange political bedfellows: It’s opposed by Newsom, the California Teachers Association and the California Republican Party, and supported by the California Democratic Party and prominent labor and environmental groups. Polls released last week show voters are split on the measure.

On Monday, the Yes on 30 campaign filed a complaint with the state’s campaign finance watchdog, alleging the No on 30 campaign “sent misleading texts on Sunday night to millions of voters” that claimed to be funded by the measure’s backers.

  • Matt Rodriguez, manager for the No on 30 campaign, said a staffer “accidentally put Yes on 30” at the bottom of about 300,000 of the 2.5 million texts sent to voters over the weekend. It was “a mistake,” he told me. “There was no grand plan to put a ‘Yes’ in the disclaimer.”

This isn’t the first purported typo to cause problems between the two sides: The No on 30 campaign recently accused the proposition’s supporters of trying to hide the financial contributions of rideshare giant Lyft by listing “Lift” as its largest funder in a television ad.

  • Steve Maviglio, a spokesperson for the Yes on 30 campaign, previously told CalMatters the misspelling was a “typo” that was “immediately corrected.”
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Last chance to vote: Find out everything you need to know about voting before California’s election ends today with the CalMatters Voter Guide, which includes answers to frequently asked questions; information on races, candidates and propositions; and videos, interactives and campaign finance data.

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1 Is California equipped to fight drought?

Jim Scala, a third-generation rancher in rural Siskiyou County, is among the ranchers facing a proposed state fine. Photo by Martin do Nascimento, CalMatters

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the massive storm expected to dump rain and snow on parched California through Wednesday won’t eradicate the drought that looks likely to grip the state for the fourth straight year. Nor will it put a stop to California’s water wars, which many agree the state is fighting with ineffective weapons. The latest example: State regulators are planning to fine Siskiyou County ranchers $4,000 for violating orders to reduce the amount of water pulled from the Shasta River this summer — a penalty that amounts to about $50 per rancher, CalMatters’ Rachel Becker reports.

  • Rick Lemos, a fifth generation rancher and board member of the Shasta River Water Association: “They obviously don’t have much enforcement power, because they showed up and told us, ‘Shut your pumps off right now.’ And we said no.”
  • Julé Rizzardo of the State Water Resources Control Board: “Unfortunately, there are circumstances such as this where the economic gains that folks can get by violating curtailment orders are greater than the potential penalties available to us.”

The conflict raises a familiar question: As California confronts what’s expected to be an increasingly arid future, how can it shore up its water supply? In this comprehensive explainer, Rachel examines the promise and challenges of various strategies, including seeding clouds to produce rainfall, recycling more water, expanding desalination, replumbing the state, transforming agricultural practices, reforming water rights and tearing out lawns. She also looks at some — shall we say — outlandish proposals, including building a pipeline to the Midwest and towing Antarctic icebergs to Los Angeles.

If you’ve followed Rachel’s water coverage and found it impressive, you aren’t alone: For her “outstanding work that illuminates complicated water issues in California and the West,” the Water Education Foundation selected Rachel as its first recipient of the Rita Schmidt Sudman Award for Excellence in Water Journalism.

2 The biggest lobbyist spenders of them all

The Chevron Oil Refinery in Point Richmond on July 19, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

Which interest groups spent the most money lobbying the state Legislature and regulators from Jan. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022? A new Capitol Morning Report analysis, based on disclosures filed with the secretary of state, offers a snapshot of some of Sacramento’s biggest players — and a preview of controversial issues newly elected legislators may confront next year. Here’s a look at a few of the top 10 lobbyist spenders:

3 Will state develop plan to curb youth fentanyl overdoses?

Gina McDonald, a member of Mothers Against Drug Deaths, poses for a portrait next to a picture of her and her daughter Sam, who is struggling with fentanyl addiction, in Sacramento on May 12, 2022. Photo by Fred Greaves for CalMatters

As fentanyl claims the lives of an increasing number of California youth — the super-powerful synthetic opioid was responsible for a staggering 1 in 5 deaths among 15- to 24-year-olds in 2021, according to a recent Mercury News analysis — state Sen. Dave Cortese said Monday he plans to introduce legislation next year to create a state framework to prevent youth fentanyl overdoses. The San Jose Democrat said his proposal would build on an effective model used by Santa Clara County’s fentanyl working group and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, which helped save the lives of two high school students last month. Cortese said his blueprint will contain the following strategies:

  • Providing schools with Narcan, medicine that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, and training on how to mitigate fentanyl’s side effects.
  • Embedding fentanyl prevention groups in school-site councils.
  • Widely distributing information on fentanyl’s impact.
  • Asking counties to establish behavioral health advisory councils.

“Schools have an essential role in both raising awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and keeping life-saving medications on hand,” Dr. Mary Dewan, Santa Clara County superintendent, said in a statement. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez added: “There is still a great void of information for youth, parents, teachers and health care workers on the dangers of ordering pills and other narcotics online. A substantial number of youth have died because they ordered pills online that they didn’t know were laced with fentanyl.”

  • However, bills to increase penalties for fentanyl dealers have faced an uphill battle in the state Legislature. Lawmakers last year rejected a proposal to permit convicted drug dealers to be charged with manslaughter or murder for selling fatal doses of fentanyl or other opiates or narcotics. They also killed a bill to increase jail time for people selling 2 grams or more of fentanyl, including those hawking it on social media.
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CalMatters Commentary


CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Is the end in sight for California’s decades-long conflict over how to teach reading to young children?

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California city to decide if 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote. // Los Angeles Times

49ers’ political spending in Santa Clara tops $4.5 million ahead of Election Day. // San Francisco Chronicle

How an Orange County House race became an Asian American culture clash. // Washington Post

San Diego County’s changing political identity: How and where voter registrations have shifted blue. // San Diego Union-Tribune

Will voters limit growth on Silicon Valley’s rural edges? // Mercury News

New data shows which California state departments are most supportive of remote work. // Sacramento Bee

‘It’s a mess’: Ojai Unified gets state fiscal intervention as union talks hit impasse. // Ventura County Star

California apartment rents fall in 89% of big cities in October. // Mercury News

They used to call California ocean desalination a disaster. Not anymore. // Los Angeles Times

Wildfire weapon: California aims to ignite 400,000 acres a year. // Mercury News

Lithium Valley: Hundreds of commenters on draft state report voice support — and concerns. // Desert Sun

See you tomorrow

Tips, insight or feedback? Email emily@calmatters.org.

Follow me on Twitter: @emily_hoeven

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