Today is Election Day, which means all of the polls and all of the speculation is over. Unfortunately, no matter what happens in this special election today, “the people” will not have decided it. Only about 7 million Californians are expected to vote, in a state where 13 million are registered to vote, and 22 million are eligible to vote. Turnout is expected to be around 42%, which, no matter what anyone tells you, is not something any of us should be proud of. Special elections are notoriously bad for turnout, which is exactly why Gov. Schwarzenegger is trying to push a set of unpopular policies now, rather than waiting for a general election.
We have to say No. Today, you have the opportunity to say no the the philosophy of governance that is directly responsible for the Katrina disaster, the lies of the racist war in Iraq, decades of economic stagnation and corporate rule and an ever crumbling wall of separation between church and state. We can’t directly mount the attack on Washington yet. The time is coming, but voting no here in California today is the first step.
Visit our home page for any last-minute information you might need about how to vote, and for information on campaign headquarters if you’d like to volunteer today. Volunteers are needed all the way until the polls close at 8 p.m.
Below, we have an analysis written by California State Sen. Sheila Kuehl, explaining why the Governor-backed special election initiatives are important to the LGBT community. I will be keeping her thoughts in mind as I help Get Out the Vote today in the Castro.
Why the special election initiatives matter to the LGBT community
By State Sen. Sheila James Kuehl
Proposition 73: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
- The right to privacy and control of one’s body has not only been the basis of protecting a woman’s right to choose, but also the basis for protecting the rights of LGBT folks.
- Civil rights should not be stripped by a ballot initiative. This becomes a tyranny of the majority.
- The women’s community and LGBT community are natural allies and the women’s community has provided significant support on LGBT civil rights issues. We need to stand strongly with them.
- This IS an LGBT issue, because our young women have historically been “punished” for their sexual orientation by rape and, therefore, stand in great risk of being involved in an unintended pregnancy. In addition, discrimination and harassment against our youth can result in LGBT youth engaging in a variety of risk-taking behaviors, including unprotected experimentation with heterosexual sex (often to prove that one is a “real man” or “real woman” or just prove that they are not gay). The ability to choose by discussion with one’s physician is important to us, too.
Proposition 74: Public School Teachers. Waiting Period for Permanent Status. Dismissal. Initiative Statute, and Proposition 75: Public Employee Union Dues. Restrictions on Political Contributions. Employee Consent Requirement. Initiative Statute.
- Both of these initiatives are attacks against working families and against protecting unions’ ability to organize and counter the massive and increasing assaults against them.
- Unions have increasingly been strong and important supporters of LGBT civil rights issues in the legislature, including marriage equality.
- The unions’ fight for domestic partner rights in their contracts in the 1990s helped us to secure the important gains we have made in the Legislature. This ground work was crucial to our success.
- These matters should be negotiated by management and labor sitting equally at the table, not settled at the ballot.
Proposition 76: State Spending and School Funding Limits. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
- This initiative allows the Governor to declare that the budget is out of balance and then gives him new powers to cut state funding for programs without consent from the Legislature. The cuts are likely to have the most effect on education and health care, which are the two largest funding items in the state budget.
- Education funding is important to the LGBT community because it is in our schools that we begin to teach children about citizenship and tolerance for diversity. While all children will be hurt by cuts to school funding, our children will face additional harm as there will be even fewer resources available to protect them against breaches in the law and fewer community resource officers to work with local schools to protect against hate crimes on campus.
- Cuts to healthcare will obviously affect those in our community struggling with HIV/AIDS and breast cancer.
Proposition 77: Court Order Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
- Although the Governor claims otherwise, his obvious goal in seeking redistricting is to give the Republicans and moderate Democrats more control in the Legislature.
- When districts are drawn to favor “moderates” (those who have to moderate democratic positions to secure republican votes) those elected do not support LGBT rights. Often times those elected from moderate districts are very concerned about re-election and thus shy away from making bold decisions in support of LGBT civil rights issues. Don’t take my word for it, check the votes on marriage equality in the Assembly.
- Many of the key gains we have made in the State Legislature have only passed by one vote. Even losing one seat traditionally held by a supporter of LGBT civil rights issues could be devastating to our community.
The message is simple: We must vote, and we must vote No on all of the Schwarzenegger-backed measures.