Measure LH Results: Voters Pass LA’s Low-Income Housing Initiative
Los Angeles voters have approved Measure LH, an initiative that gives local officials permission to fund the development up to 75,000 new units of low-income housing across the city.
The city put Measure LH on the ballot because they had to come to voters, yet again, to seek approval for such development. The city is required to ask for voters’ blessing due to a unique state constitutional requirement that critics call a “racist relic.”
With Measure LH's passage, pre-existing streams of public funding can now continue to flow toward the development of housing for seniors, the unhoused and for struggling low-income workers. If the measure had failed, affordable housing development could have ground to a halt in many neighborhoods.
Understanding Measure LH
By approving Measure LH, voters have granted the city the authority to put public money toward the development of an additional 5,000 units of affordable housing in each of the city’s 15 council districts.
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City of Los Angeles
- Mayor | City Controller |City Council
- Measures: LH (how-income housing)| SP (parcel tax for parks)|ULA (aka "mansion tax")
The measure does not guarantee that any additional housing will actually get built. It only authorizes the city to reach a higher level of development before having to ask for voters’ permission all over again.
Measure LH appeared on the ballot thanks to Article 34, an unusual requirement in the California state constitution that gives voters the right to shoot down publicly funded housing projects in their cities.
The history of this constitutional requirement dates back to 1950, when Eureka, CA residents teamed up with the California real estate industry to run a campaign that vilified public housing while seeking to preserve segregated neighborhoods (the California Association of Realtors recently apologized for its past role in this racist campaign).
Voters will have a chance in 2024 to pass a state ballot measure that would repeal Article 34. But until then, cities like L.A. need voter approval to pursue publicly financed low-income housing projects. Los Angeles received voter approval in 2008 to develop 3,500 units of additional low-income housing in each council district. But now, a handful of districts have either hit that cap or have come close to exceeding it.
If voters had shot down Measure LH, areas including downtown L.A. would have been maxed out, and thus barred from using public funding for any further affordable housing development. This could have also seriously hampered the city’s state-mandated goal of planning for 185,000 new units of low-income housing by 2029.
With no formal opposition, it isn't necessarily surprising that voters chose to pass Measure LH by a wide margin.
You can read more about this measure here.
A Note On The Results
Keep in mind that in tight races particularly, the winner may not be determined for days or weeks after Election Day. In L.A. County, the first batch of results released includes vote by mail ballots received before Election Day, followed by early votes cast at vote centers before Election Day, then votes cast in-person on Election Day. This process is expected to wrap up in the early hours of Nov. 9. Then, additional results will be released following a schedule you can see on the county's site. In California, ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 8 are counted toward the results as long as they arrive within seven days of the election. Results must be certified by county election officials by Dec. 8.
Tracking Your Ballot
You can track the status of your ballot:
If your mail-in ballot is rejected for any reason (like a missing or mismatched signature), your county registrar must contact you to give you a chance to fix it. In Los Angeles County, the registrar will send you a notification by mail and you have until Nov. 28 to reply and "cure" your ballot.
How We're Covering This Election
Early voters and mail-in ballots have fundamentally reshaped how votes are counted and when election results are known.
Our priority will be sharing outcomes and election calls only when they have been thoroughly checked and vetted. To that end, we will rely on NPR and The Associated Press for race calls. We will not report the calls or projections of other news outlets. You can find more on NPR and The AP's process for counting votes and calling races here, here and here.