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Proposition 20: A user’s guide to the California propositions on the November 2020 ballot

11 Jan 2021

There are a lot of things on your November ballot. Along with local, statewide, and national candidates to choose from — and local measures — there are 12 statewide propositions on the ballot for Californians to decide.

It’s a lot of information, so we’re breaking down the basics of all 12.

Proposition 20 makes specific crimes currently specified as misdemeanors chargeable as either a misdemeanor or a felony which in some cases would restrict early parole for those convicted. Additionally, Proposition 20 would expand DNA collection from persons convicted of drug, theft, and domestic violence-related crimes to help solve violent crimes and exonerate the innocent. Lawmakers say taxpayers will collectively pay tens of millions of dollars more every year for increased correctional, court, and law enforcement costs.

A YES vote changes some crime specifications from a misdemeanor to either a misdemeanor or felony limiting access to early parole and requires DNA samples from people convicted of certain misdemeanors.

A NO vote would not change the specification of some crimes and would continue to require DNA samples only from those convicted of felonies, sex offenses, or arson.

Supporters say it closes a loophole that allows convicted child molesters, sexual predators, and others convicted of violent crimes to be released from prison early — and helps solve rapes, murders, and other serious crimes using DNA.

Opponents say it is a prison spending scam that lengthens already severe state sentences in California and that special interests want to scare voters into spending tens of millions on prisons.

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