Magazine News Volume 70, Issue 2

The General Elections, Through a Las Lomas Lens

Graphic by Jennifer Notman

In 2016, The Page made a Google Survey to send out to all of the Las Lomas students that was identical to the ballots anyone over the age of 18 voting would see. The Page created this poll in order to have our very own election to get an idea how the majority of our students would vote if they could. With the 2020 election right around the corner and thousands voting early, The Page made another mock ballot through Google Surveys and sent it out to all the current students to get their opinions on this election cycle. “I think voting is one of the most important responsibilities every citizen has,” one of the students, senior Nathan Seaway, said. “I’m just sad I can’t vote.”

Included on the ballot this year were the Presidential, Senate, Congressional, and State Assembly candidates. Also included were all the local positions in Contra Costa County that are up for election: a Contra Costa Community College board member seat, two seats on the AUHSD governing board, three seats for the Contra Costa Sanitary District Director, the position of the Director of BART, and three seats on Walnut Creek’s City Council – including the position of Mayor. 

Besides the Democratic and Republican Presidential nominees, on the ballot are candidates from the Green, Independent, Peace and Freedom, and Libertarian Parties; Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, Rocky De La Fuente and Kanye West, Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman and Jo Jorgenson and Spike Cohen, respectively. Out of 74 responses, 54 (73.6%) were for Biden-Harris, 14 (18.9%) were for Trump-Pence, 2 (2.7%) were for De La Fuente-West and the other 3 (5.6%) were split evenly among Hawkins-Walker, La Riva-Freeman, and Jorgenson-Cohen. 

In addition, the votes for the Democratic nominees for Congress, Senate, and State Assembly Member were almost split identically across all three positions; 74.3% voted for Mark DeSaulnier, 74% voted for Steve Glazer, and 77% voted for Rebecca Bauer-Kahan.

Once the candidates turned into county officials, the number of people who voted dropped to 47 and lower. For the community college district governing board member, Vicki Gordon had the most votes of the 3, with 34.9% of the vote, with Judy Walters close at 32.6%, John Michaelson with 23.3%, and 6.9% saying they don’t know. Out of the 43, one person didn’t definitively vote for either candidate, instead using the ‘other’ option to write: “[I would vote for] the person that is conservative.”

Similarly, only 42 of those who started the survey voted for the 2 candidates they wanted for the AUHSD governing board. Out of the 4, Christopher Grove and Rupy Ahluwalia Krishnan had the majority of the vote at 54.5% and 50%, with Kristin Braun Connelly and Michael Bonino following at 34.1% and 29.5% (respectively) and 6.9% who said they didn’t know. As with the Community College District Governing Board members, one reported that they would vote for “Someone who actually cares about our education.”

For this election, there were 12 propositions on the ballot to be voted on by this year’s voters, numbered from 14 to 25. The mock ballot included the brief summary of each of the propositions and the pros and cons that are included in the voter information guide sent to all Californian voters. Las Lomas junior Melina Rafferty said, “So much of the ballot has tricky wording to make each side [look like] the good guy.”

Propositions 14 and 15, 17-19, 24 and 25 passed in the mock election while propositions 16 and 20-23 did not. Proposition 14 authorizes the use of 5.5 billion dollars worth of state bonds to be used for furthering stem cell research, such as for building facilities, training employees, paying administrative employees, and grants for the research itself. Proposition 15 proposes that commercial properties worth more than $3 million would be taxed at their current market value instead of the price that the company bought it for, using the extra revenue to provide new funding for public schools, community colleges, and local governments. Proposition 17 would give the right to vote back to citizens who had completed their prison terms, which passed with a large margin in our election, with 84.9% in favour of it. Proposition 18 would change state law so that 17-year-olds who would turn 18 before the next general election could vote in primary and special elections between general elections. Proposition 19 allows disaster victims or senior and/or disabled homeowners to transfer their primary house’s tax base to their new house. Proposition 24 permits consumers to decline to allow businesses to use, share, or correct their personal information, such as their precise location, race, health information, and ethnicity and creates the California Privacy Protection Agency, which would be in charge of enforcing the privacy laws and penalizing businesses who didn’t comply with the new laws. Proposition 25 would change the laws surrounding cash bail, and people who are arrested would be released based on the safety of the public and how much of a flight risk each individual was instead of if they can pay a bail set by the judge.

Proposition 16 would allow the state government to consider sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin in decision making policies so that they can “fight wage discrimination and systematic racism.” Proposition 20 changes the law so that only those convicted of non-violent crimes are eligible for parole, certain misdemeanours could be sentenced as felonies, and expands the kinds of crimes that will cause someone to have their DNA collected when they’re convicted. Proposition 21 would allow city governments to enforce rent control on properties that are 15 years old or more. Proposition 22 allows app-based companies to classify their employees as independent contractors instead, allowing them to not provide employee benefits. Proposition 23 makes it mandatory for dialysis clinics to have a licensed medical professional on site at all times, prohibits them from refusing treatment based on payment, reducing the services they offer without approval from the state, and requires them to report any and all infections.