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Prop 20 Fails: Voters Reject Effort To Roll Back Criminal Justice Reforms

 An illustration depicts a bar chart with the label "Prop 20."
(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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California voters have rejected Proposition 20, which sought to roll back criminal justice reforms of recent years, according to the Associated Press.


Proposition 20 would have reversed parts of the landmark Proposition 47 (passed by voters in 2014) by giving prosecutors the ability to once again charge low-level crimes as felonies, in particular those involving petty theft. It would have created two new crimes, including one called organized retail crime aimed at repeat shoplifters.

Prop 20 would have partially reversed Proposition 57 (passed by voters in 2016) by making it harder for inmates to make parole. And it would have required people convicted of certain misdemeanors -- including shoplifting, check fraud and simple drug possession -- to place their DNA in the state database.

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Supporters argued Prop 47 led to an increase in crime; they pointed to one study that found a 9% increase in larceny, mostly auto break-ins and shoplifting, in the two years after Prop 47 passed. But opponents pointed to another study that found no connection between any uptick in crime and Prop 47. Despite some increases in 2020, overall crime remains at historic lows in California and in Los Angeles.


Passage of Prop 20 would likely have led to increased state and local correctional, court and law enforcement costs in the tens of millions of dollars annually, according to the state Legislative Analyst's Office.


The key supporters included the unions that represent rank and file LAPD officers, L.A. Sheriff's deputies and California prison guards, as well as the state Republican Party.


Opponents included the California Democratic Party, the ACLU and Crime Victims for Safety and Justice.


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.

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A Note On The Results

  • The first results released included early voting, including mail-in ballots received before election day. In the past, local election officials have said all votes received and processed by the day before the election (in this case, Monday Nov. 2) are included in the first count. However, the high volume of mail-in ballots may mean that's not the case this election.
  • Keep in mind that in tight races particularly, the outcome may not be determined for some time.
  • In California, ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3 may be counted toward the results as long as they arrive within 17 days of the election.
  • Results are finalized by county election officials 30 days after election day.


The unprecedented number of early voters and mail-in ballots this election means it's going to take more time to get votes counted. 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.


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