New York Times

The California Voter Ordeal: 17 Decisions on the Ballot

September 5, 2016

LOS ANGELES — Pity the California voter.

Seventeen voter initiatives are on the state ballot in November, a glut of citizen-lawmaking that could, among other things, end the death penalty, legalize recreational marijuana, impose a tax surcharge on the wealthy and place limits on prescription drug costs.

And considering that there really is no race for president in this overwhelmingly Democratic state, this is where the action is going to be through Election Day. By the time voters make it to the polls, analysts say, they are likely to have endured close to $100 million in television advertisements making the yea or nay case for these measures, usually framed in the most alarming sort of way.

California is a state with a long tradition of making law at the ballot box, but the last time there were this many initiatives was 2000. And that does not even account for local initiatives like a Los Angeles County proposal to raise the sales tax to pay for mass transit or a soda tax in San Francisco.

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