California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Nov. 3.

A rundown of what you need to know on Election Day.
A judge limits Gavin Newsom's powers during pandemic.
And the best place to watch a sunset in Sequoia National Park.

Election 2020


A mural by the artist Junker in Los Angeles on Oct. 29.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Here we go.

In California, more than 12 million ballots had already been cast as of Monday. That's a remarkable figure considering the vote total in 2016 was roughly 14.6 million, an all-time record.

If you haven't voted yet, polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Find your polling place here. 👉

Not registered? In California, you can register and vote on Election Day at your county elections office or a community voting center. The votes still count, but they are processed only after officials have confirmed eligibility. L.A. Times

A few election guides 👉 CalMatters | S.F. Chronicle | L.A. Times

Tip: California lets you track when your ballot is mailed, received, and counted. ballottrax


The propositions

Twelve voter initiatives are on the ballot, part of the state’s century-old tradition of direct democracy. Given that the presidential contest is far from close in California, the propositions are where the real action will be.

A few of the most consequential measures:

Proposition 15 would undo limits on commercial property taxes, creating one of the biggest tax increases in California history. It would be a jolt to the commercial real-estate industry, but a boon to hard-hit local budgets. CalMatters | N.Y. Times
Proposition 16 would allow government agencies and colleges to reinstate affirmative action programs. Here's an interesting read on how opinion is divided among Asian American students. 👉 KQED
Proposition 22 would exempt gig players giants like Uber and Lyft from having to treat drivers as employees. The San Francisco companies' share prices rose Monday on expectations that it would pass. CNBC

Here is a quick guide to all 12 propositions. 👉

And a scorecard of endorsements by California's major news organizations 👉


David Valadao and Donald Trump signs hung on crop trailers in Hanford last month.

Al Seib/L.A. Times via Getty Images

The House races

Californians are also deciding dozens of congressional races. Three closely watched battles 👇

District 21: Rep. TJ Cox, a Democrat, narrowly defeated the Republican incumbent, David Valadao, in this ruby-red Central Valley district in 2018. Now Valadao is the challenger. The race, considered a toss-up, has been notable for its political ugliness. KQED | L.A. Times
District 25: Katie Hill resigned from this House seat north of Los Angeles a year ago after an ethics investigation. Mike Garcia, a Republican and former Navy pilot, won a special election, but it's uncertain whether he can withstand a challenge from Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith. L.A. Times | Los Angeles magazine
District 48: In Orange County, Democrat Harley Rouda upset longtime Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in 2018 as suburban voters rejected the Trump label. But the county's formidable G.O.P machine is still a force to be reckoned with, and it has rallied around a formidable challenger: Michelle Steel, who heads the county Board of Supervisors. O.C. Register

A roundup of other key House races 👉 CalMatters


A local race to watch

The contest for Los Angeles County district attorney has become a showcase for progressives trying to reshape criminal justice. Their preferred candidate, former San Francisco district attorney George Gascón, would unseat the first Black woman to hold the office, Jackie Lacey, who has the backing of law enforcement. A.P. | L.A. Times


Mail-in ballots were sorted at a processing center in Pomona last week.

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

How to stay plugged in

Reporters will be out in force across California and beyond on Tuesday. For updates from the field, pay attention to these live feeds. 👉 S.F. Chronicle | L.A. Times

Here's a list of 17 California political reporters to follow on Twitter, curated by the California Sun. 👉 California Vote 2020

On election night in 2016, a semicircular chart on the N.Y. Times site became known as "the needle." It's coming back, but this time it will track just Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, three battleground states that count their votes quickly. They won't reveal the winner of the presidency, but they'll provide an idea of where things are headed. N.Y. Times

When to expect results in all 50 states 👉 FiveThirtyEight


Other developments

Billions of dollars have been spent on California's ballot measure battles. But this year's spending blitz is unlike any other. The L.A. Times ranked the 10 most expensive ballot campaigns ever. Four are happening now.
Richard Howard, an 89-year-old Air Force veteran in Merced, injured his shoulder in a fall. Determined to vote, he signed his ballot while strapped to gurney. “He never ever misses voting, period,” his daughter said. Merced Sun-Star
Stressed out? The N.Y. Times created an "Election Distractor," with video of a waterfall, a yoga lesson, a dog you can pet, and much more. It's genius.



A Sutter County judge ruled that Gov. Gavin Newsom had overstepped his authority when he mandated all 21 million California voters receive mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election. The decision won't affect the vote, but Judge Sarah Heckman ordered Newsom to stop issuing coronavirus directives that create new laws. Under the state's Constitution, only the Legislature can do that. Sacramento Bee | A.P.


The Eel River in Humboldt County. The environment is said to inform the region's cannabis crop.

The Emerald Triangle is to cannabis what Napa Valley is to wine — places renowned for the excellence of their agricultural products. Now a first-in-the-nation state law aims to enshrine Humboldt's brand using the French concept of "terroir," or sense of place. It's not just the soil that makes Emerald Triangle special, one grower explained. It's the sunlight, temperature, air, rain, ocean, and more. “So if you think about it like a grow room, we have the greatest grow room on earth.” Lost Coast Outpost | S.F. Chronicle


Prominent mayors from both political parties are now pressuring Gov. Gavin Newsom to rethink the state's stringent guidelines for reopening Disneyland and other theme parks. The leaders of San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, and four other cities said in a letter that the ongoing closures were affecting hundreds of thousands of jobs. "Economic and public health are not mutually exclusive goals," they said. Hollywood Reporter | O.C. Register


Joseph Hughes, 3, attended an Open Our Schools rally at Los Angeles City Hall on Oct. 24.

Francine Orr/L.A. Times via Getty Images

It's midterm time. How is distance learning going in Los Angeles County? One high school history teacher said a third of her students were failing. A English teacher said a quarter of her students don't log on. Many teachers say "Zoom fatigue" has set in, as increasing numbers of students drift off, fail to turn in assignments, or stop signing in at all. L.A. Times

Newsom said his four kids are back in the classroom. They attend a private school in Sacramento County. Politico


One winter day in 2018, Danny Eatherton, 70, was in his rural Riverside County home when a car crashed through his fence. He went outside to find three deputies arresting the driver. One deputy ordered Eatherton to go inside. He refused, saying he was on his own property. That's when, according to Eatherton, the deputies ran at him with guns drawn, tackled him, and punched him in the face. Eatherton was then put in a patrol car, where he suffered a heart attack. Now the county has paid him $450,000 to settle accusations of excessive force and false arrest. Press-Enterprise


The view from Moro Rock.

Kevin Qlintang

If Yosemite has Half Dome, Sequoia National Park has Moro Rock. The bald granite dome protrudes thousands of feet above the Kaweah River gorge, offering some of the grandest perches to take in a sunset in the Sierra. For an added treat, go this time of year, when the apricot-colored sky matches the forest's autumn finery. California Through My Lens | hikespeak


Thanks for reading!

The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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