Think of it as a proposition extravaganza.

Love ’em or hate ’em, ballot propositions are an ingrained part of California’s political system.

In nearly every statewide election, voters wade through a stew of local and statewide measures. And this year is no exception: the November 2016 ballot has a whopping 17 state propositions (on top of the local measures your city or county is no doubt juggling). They pertain to everything from the death penalty to marijuana legalization to plastic bags. And that makes for one thick voter guide in your mailbox and a very long ballot to sort through on Election Day. Review all of this year’s measures with KQED’s nifty proposition guide.

The state’s proposition process was adopted over a decade ago to empower citizens through a form of direct democracy. Since then, voters have weighed in on more than 1,000 ballot measures, some super complicated, some controversial, and some just plain odd (like Proposition 6 in 1998, which prohibited the slaughter of horses and sale of horse meat for human consumption, which voters approved).

So how do propositions actually make it onto the ballot? What are the different types? And what’s the difference between and initiative and referendum any? Comic journalist Andy Warner gets down to the nuts and bolts of a  process.

(Click images below to view as a slideshow)

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Majority Rules: How California’s Proposition System Works (with Lesson Plan) 17 October,2016Andy Warner


Andy Warner

SelfPortraitAndy Warner's comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate,, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at:

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