PROP. 219



U.S. Senate



Secretary of State



Attorney General

Insurance Commissioner

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Board of Equalization


Prop 219
Prop 220
Prop 221
Prop 222
Prop 223
Prop 224
Prop 225
Prop 226
Prop 227


Districts 1 - 26
Districts 27 - 52


Districts 2 - 40

Districts 1 - 20
Districts 21 - 40
Districts 41 - 60
Districts 61 - 80

Background | Proposal | Arguments For | Arguments Against

A constitutional amendment that prohibits any statewide initiative from including or excluding a county from its effect depending on how that county voted on the measure.

Californians vote on a variety of state and local measures -- initiatives, referenda, constitutional amendments, bonds, and revisions to local charters. Historically, statewide ballot measures are designed to be just that - statewide. All counties are included in the measure's effect, regardless of whether a majority of voters in any individual county approved the measure. However, Proposition 172 on the November 1993 ballot was different. The measure, promoted by Governor Pete Wilson, enacted a statewide sales tax increase targeted for the support of law enforcement, but it provided that the revenues from the tax increase would go only to those counties that voted in favor of the measure. As a result, some people who would otherwise have voted "no" may have voted "yes" to ensure that their county received some of the money. Another issue of "ballot targeting" occurred in a 1994 local election in Sacramento County. Most ballot measures identify a specific policy that would be adopted if the measure passes - a tax, a bond, a new police policy, etc. But Measure A, a local sales-tax increase ostensibly designed for law enforcement, proposed different outcomes based on the number of votes cast in support. If the measure had been approved by a two-thirds majority of voters, the money would indeed have been targeted toward law enforcement. But if only a majority of voters approved, the measure would have gone to the general fund. In both cases, critics argued the intent of the provisions was to offer a carrot and a stick to a core of voters which traditionally opposes any tax hikes.

Proposition 219 mandates that state and local ballot measures apply in the same way in all parts of the jurisdiction (i.e., the state or a local government) affected by the measures, regardless of how any individual part of that jurisdiction voted. A ballot measure could not apply only in those areas that voted in favor of the measure. Proposition 219 also prohibits ballot measures from containing alternative or additional provisions that would be enacted depending on the percentage of votes cast in favor of the measure.

Arguments for:
Supporters include California Secretary of State Bill Jones, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and Common Cause. They argue such provisions amount to "ballot box blackmail" by politicians. They contend that by prohibiting political discrimination against the residents of a city, county or other local jurisdiction because of their vote for or against a particular ballot measure, Proposition 219, they argue, will guarantee that benefits of all ballot measures will be provided fairly to the people of every community in California.

Arguments against:
No arguments against the measure were submitted to the Secretary of State's office. However, the controversial ballot provisions have been historically defended as being necessary to break through ingrained anti-tax sentiments and restrictive vote requirements which, local governments contend, have kept them from receiving the revenue they need to operate basic services.

--- Article by Tippy Young

This page first published May 5, 1998

Last updated May 25, 1998

Back to the '98 Primary Online Voter Guide homepage

The California Online Voter Guide
is a project of the
California Voter Foundation
© Copyright 1994-98.
All rights reserved.