ballot.fyi

The California props, simplified

Ballot.fyi is a nonpartisan election guide to the California propositions, calmly informing you about the many arguments being shouted from all sides.

Our principles

We don't take sides

Unlike other ballot guides, we do our best to be as nonpartisan as possible. We'll try to explain how the Yes and the No sides are trying to convince you and dive into the relevant research and reporting behind their claims. The issues tend to be pretty complicated, so we let you decide. Also, we recognize we don't know everything, or fully understand every perspective. If you know something we don't (regarding the props), send us the facts: fax@ballot.fyi.

We don't make or take money

Unlike most people (and we all know corporations are people too), we don't make money and won't accept contributions. That's a feature. Mixed with politics, money is messy, and we'd probably lose your trust if there was some ulterior motive with this site.

In full transparency, we have asked for contributions in the past, and you can learn more about it here.

We let you explore

Behind almost every sentence is research or reporting to back it up. We cite everything we can and give you avenues to explore in case you're curious or skeptical.

Your vote goes beyond the Presidential race

Understandably, you may feel like your vote, as a Californian, doesn't matter. Unless everyone pandemic-fled SF to move into their parents' basements in Ohio, California is all but certain to vote blue in the presidential election, electorally-speaking. So why tf should you vote? RHETORICAL QUESTION. Because we put weighty, consequential propositions on the ballot that sometimes become laws (or state constitutional amendments) for a hell-uh long time.

For example, we're voting on whether to make affirmative action legal again in CA. It was banned via ballot proposition 24 years ago. In 2016, a ballot prop was the vehicle for marijuana legalization. Own property? It's a really big deal this year that we might change Prop 13, a ballot prop voted in 1978, which sets the max for your property taxes. Oh, you don't have $1M so you rent? You get to decide whether cities can enact new rent control measures.

Your decisions 100 million% matter. They might not directly affect you, but they might affect your friends, your future children, or even that nice colleague you fondly used to say hello to everyday but didn't actually know their name.

Let's be honest – convincing you to vote isn't the hard part. The hard part is finding the time and doing the work to understand the issues. We try to make that as easy as possible for you

1. Check your voter registration

First, make sure you're registered to vote in California. Deadline is Oct 19. You can vote by mail too. Not a CA resident? Try vote.org.

2. Subscribe

Second, sign up to be emailed when we release our state prop digests.

About this project

Ballot.fyi is designed, coded, and primarily written by Jimmy Chion, with the editorial help of many friends, left and right. Jimmy is a creative technologist at The New York Times. (This project is not affiliated in any way to The New York Times.) He started ballot.fyi in 2016, and designed and wrote for it again in 2018.

Ballot.fyi is entirely a side project, with the only goal of informing voters with to-the-point but explorable information, research, and reporting. It is built on top of the hard work of many local journalists and people with way more expertise than us. The best way to support ballot.fyi is to buy a subscription to your local paper.

Contact us at fax@ballot.fyi (via email).