California Props 2020

The California props, simplified 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

We do our best to be as nonpartisan as possible. We aggregate all the opinions on the issue and sanely digest it for you. 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 (and luckily, not as polarized as national politics) 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, send us the facts:

We don't make or take money

Unlike most people (which includes corporations of course), 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 legalizing marijuana. Own property? It's a really big deal this year that we might change Prop 13, a ballot prop voted in 1978, which defines your property taxes. Oh, I'm sorry, you don't have $1M+ so you're a renter? You get to decide whether cities can enact new rent control measures this year.

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

2. Subscribe

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

About this project 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 with The Times, and was started waaay before working there. First released in 2016 and then rebuilt in 2018, it's back in 2020. is entirely a side project, with the two goals: (1) to inform voters with to-the-point but explorable information, research, and reporting, and (2) to look good. 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 is to buy a subscription to your local paper.

Contact us at (via email).