MIV November 2008 Voter Guide

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This MIV 2008 Voter Guide was written to make the issues on the ballot easier to understand for everyone. We hope that the information and recommendations in this guide will help you to understand the ballot issues that will benefit low-income immigrant and other marginalized communities, and those that threaten them.

Exercising the right to vote is just one way to make an impact. We need to stay involved after Election Day to help make the long-term changes that we all need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

  • Our Voice is critical on Election Day.
  • Take Action – VOTE on November 4th!

Use your vote to support ballot issues that address the most important needs of immigrants and their families -- quality education, good jobs, health care, public benefits, affordable housing, healthy environments, and human dignity.

When you vote on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 4th You speak for yourself, your family, and your community!

These voter guides are available in Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. You can browse them online at http://www.mivcalifornia.org/resources/index.php . Your organization can get these voter guides for FREE by becoming a MIV campaign partner!

Contents

What's in this guide

  • Information about issues on the ballot this Election Day!
  • Decide how to vote!
  • Information to share with your community, family and friends!

You can also…

  • Make copies and distribute this guide at community events!
  • Take this Guide with you to the polling place!
  • For more guides, visit www.mivcalifornia.org to find an MIV participating organization in your area

For more information about the MIV campaign go to: http://mivcalifornia.org

Recommendations from the MIV Campaign

  • PROP 4 Denying Youth Access to Healthcare NO
  • PROP 5 Funding for Rehabilitation, Not Prisons YES
  • PROP 6 Criminalizing Youth and Immigrants (Runner Initiative) NO
  • PROP 7 Increased Production of Renewable Energy NO
  • PROP 8 Denial of Rights to Same-Sex Couples NO
  • PROP 9 Limiting Constitutional Due Process Rights NO
  • Prop 10 Funding to Promote Alternative Energy and Fuel NO
  • Prop 11 Redistricting NO

Three statewide ballot initiatives that are not related to our platform issues are not covered in this voter guide. For information about Propositions 1, 2, and 12, please visit www.easyvoter.org.

Proposition 3: Funding for Children’s Hospitals

Proposition 3 authorizes $980,000,000 in bonds from the State’s General fund for the construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing, and equipping of children’s hospitals. A bond is a loan to the state by wealthy investors or private banks, which the state promises to pay back with interest. Bonds must be approved by voters because voters pay back the bond with their taxes, which could instead be used to fund other programs or services.

80% of the funds would be allocated to non-profit hospitals that serve large numbers of Medi-Cal recipients and other underserved members of our communities. However, community clinics and county hospitals, which are often primary healthcare providers for low-income communities, would not be eligible to receive these funds. Some healthcare advocates are concerned that this money would mostly be used for new equipment rather than for expansion of services. We believe in increasing access to quality healthcare for low-income people, including immigrants. However we have concerns that these funds may not address the most important healthcare needs of our communities.

We remain neutral on Prop. 3.

Proposition 4: Denying Youth Access to Health Care

Right now, a young woman under the age of 18 years can go to a health care provider to terminate a pregnancy if she chooses to do so. This is a right that young women have under the California Constitution. Prop. 4 would change the law and require a health care provider to notify the parents or guardians of a young woman at least 48-hours prior to terminating a pregnancy.

We recognize that this issue may be controversial and very personal. We also believe that it is being used to divide our communities. In our discussions with community members statewide, people agreed that encouraging greater communication within a family is a good goal. However, this initiative does not provide parents with the tools to communicate with their kids or funding to educate youth about their reproductive health. There were also concerns that this initiative would increase obstacles to accessing reproductive health services and could force young women to turn to unsafe options. We believe that women should have greater access to preventative healthcare as well as the right to make their own choices regarding their reproductive health.

We recommend: No on Prop. 4.

Proposition 5: Funding for Rehabilitation, Not Prisons

This initiative would reform parole and sentencing guidelines for nonviolent drug offenders, and would increase funding for individualized treatment and rehabilitation. It would provide funds specifically for drug treatment, support programs for at-risk youth and re-direct more people convicted of minor offenses into community-based treatment programs. According to the Legislative Analyst’s office, it would reduce the number of nonviolent offenders sent to prison and save the State money because fewer prisons would need to be built.

Proposition 5 addresses substance abuse more as a health issue than a criminal matter. It would help to address the underlying problems of addiction and improve the health of our communities by investing more money into rehabilitation and treatment and less into prisons.

We recommend: Yes on Prop. 5.

Proposition 6: Criminalizing Youth and Immigrants (Runner Initiative)

Proposition 6 focuses on prisons and harsher penalties as the solution to crime, instead of prevention and rehabilitation. Prop. 6 would increase funding for prisons, increase criminal penalties for some crimes, and establish a statewide gang registry. Youth fourteen or older charged with a “gang-related” felony would be automatically tried as adults, even for nonviolent crimes. Community groups would be prevented from giving input on youth rehabilitation. Prop. 6 would limit constitutional rights by denying bail to all immigrants thought to be undocumented, even if they are never charged or convicted of a crime. It would also require local law enforcement officials to record the immigration status of anyone booked, charged, or convicted of a felony, supporting cooperation between immigration officials and local law enforcement. This could lead to increased deportations and more family separation.

Prop. 6 will hurt our communities because it unjustly targets immigrants, youth, low-income people of color, and it takes money away from the state budget that could otherwise support education and health programs.

We recommend: No on Prop. 6.

Proposition 7: Increased Production of Renewable Energy

Current California laws mandate that by the year 2010, 20% of the energy we receive through our electric lines must come from renewable and cleaner sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy. This proposition would require energy providers to double that requirement, amounting to 40% by the year 2020 and 50% by the year 2025. Restrictions would be placed on passing these costs to consumers, with a maximum 3% rate increase.

We agree that there is an immediate need to switch to better energy sources for future generations. Production of renewable energy is crucial for a cleaner environment and the well-being of our communities. However, this proposition is controversial among organizations who work to improve the environment within communities of color, where the impacts of contamination and pollution are disproportionately high. Currently development of non-renewable energy does not adequately involve the most vulnerable communities in decision-making, often resulting in displacement and/or contamination for low-income communities of color and immigrants. This proposition does not include language to address this issue, and in fact reduces the amount of time allotted for public review and input.

We recommend: No on Prop. 7.

Proposition 8: Denial of Rights to Same-Sex Couples

Recently the California Supreme Court ruled that denying the right for same-sex couples to marry was unconstitutional and discriminatory. Prop. 8 would re-write the California Constitution so that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California – allowing discrimination against same-sex couples and denying them the respect, dignity and benefits that come with marriage. The current California Constitution promises the same basic rights and freedoms to everyone, and that no one group can be singled out for unfair treatment. Prop. 8 undermines that promise and singles out one group of people – same-sex couples -- for unequal treatment under the law.

Community members in our Issue Analysis Forums statewide agreed that this is a civil rights issue and that we cannot accept discrimination against anyone. We oppose efforts that divide our communities and deny basic rights to any members of society.

We recommend: No on Prop. 8.

Proposition 9: Limiting Constitutional Due Process Rights

California has very strong laws that protect the rights of crime victims. Proposition 9 includes some provisions to expand the rights of victims, but would significantly limit the constitutional rights of people convicted of crimes. For people eligible for parole, it would reduce the number of parole hearings from once per year to once every 3-15 years. It would make it more difficult to be released on bail or granted parole by expanding the standards that must be met. It would also remove the right to free legal assistance for low-income people in parole revocation hearings.

This proposition would disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Although the rights of crime victims are important, it is also important that everyone have a fair chance in the judicial process. Rather than more jail time, our state should focus on rehabilitation so that people convicted of a crime are able to positively integrate back into society.

We recommend: No on Prop. 9.

Proposition 10: Funding to Promote Alternative Energy and Fuel

Proposition 10 would grant $5 billion in bonds to be paid from the State’s General Fund to pay for incentives promoting alternative energy and fuel for a cleaner environment. This would include funding to purchase alternative fuel vehicles; research, development, and technology for alternative energy and fuel; and more. A bond is a loan to the state by wealthy investors or private banks, which the state promises to pay back with interest. Bonds must be approved by voters because voters pay back the bond with their taxes, which could instead be used to fund other programs or services.

Switching to vehicles that do not use as much gasoline or use alternative fuel is an important step towards reducing pollution and its health impacts. However, we are concerned that this proposition relies too heavily on taxpayers. By contrast, Proposition 87 in 2006 (failed) would have drawn the funding necessary for the incentives by taxing oil companies, instead of from taxpayer money. We believe the private sector should invest more in these new technologies, rather than passing the cost on to the public.

We recommend: No on Prop. 10.

Proposition 11: Redistricting

Proposition 11 would change the way California decides on the boundaries for districts for certain elected offices. Every 10 years, the Legislature uses information from the census about changes in population to re-draw the boundary lines. This is called redistricting. Currently, district lines are drawn by the State Legislature. One criticism of the current process is that many districts have been drawn so that they are made up overwhelmingly of voters who belong to one political party, concentrating electoral power for that political party in certain areas. Under Proposition 11, the responsibility for drawing district lines for the State Assembly and Senate would be taken away from elected officials in the Legislature. Prop. 11 would create an independent commission of citizen volunteers which would decide on the boundary lines for California Legislative districts, and would set up new rules to decide how the boundaries are drawn.

While MIV agrees that redistricting reform is needed to make elections more fair and politicians more accountable, Proposition 11 does not do enough to guarantee that people of color, women, and low-income people will be adequately represented among the 14-person commission. It also does not adequately ensure that minority communities’ voting rights will be protected by the new rules, creating the risk that our communities will be divided into different districts, diluting our voting power.

We recommend: No on Prop. 11.

How this guide was developed

With input from community members, partner organizations, and allies, the Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) Coordinating Committee developed an Immigrant Voices Platform (see pp 4-5) outlining our priority issues and values to help guide our recommendations on specific ballot initiatives. Nine of the twelve initiatives on the November 4th statewide ballot are related to issues in our platform. We held Issue Analysis Forums around the state, inviting immigrant and low-income communities of color – workers, parents and students -- to discuss and analyze the impact of these initiatives on our communities. We took input from community members in these forums, spoke with allies, and reflected back on our own platform to develop the voting recommendations for this booklet.

Our “YES” recommendation is made with the belief that the initiative will help low-income immigrant communities. Our “NO” recommendation is made with the belief that the initiative will harm low-income immigrant communities. A neutral position means that we did not hear an agreement from community members and allies, and our own collaborative felt it would be best not to make a specific recommendation. This guide will help you decide for yourself. We encourage you to discuss all the issues on the ballot with others in your community to arrive at your own voting decisions.

For information on the three statewide ballot initiatives not covered in this voter guide, please visit www.easyvoter.org.

About MIV

The Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) California Collaborative is a multi-ethnic coalition of community-based organizations across the state working to register, educate and mobilize immigrant communities for electoral participation. We believe immigrants bring strength, diversity, and economic vitality to our state and the whole country, but our voices are not being heard on important issues. Voting is one way to make our priorities known and to demonstrate our power. We need a stronger voice on Election Day!

Mobilize the Immigrant Vote 2008 California Campaign is coordinated by: Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), California Partnership (CAP), Korean Resource Center (KRC), Partnership for Immigrant Leadership & Action (PILA) and Services, Immigrant Rights, & Education Network (SIREN).

Immigrant Voices 2008 Platform

Mobilize the Immigrant Vote California Collaborative

The Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) California Collaborative developed this platform to identify the issues important to low-income immigrant communities. We want to provide a tool for individuals to use when deciding how to vote on ballot measures. We created this document with input from community members, partner organizations, and allies throughout the state. Low-income immigrants and people of color can use their vote to create positive change in California on issues that matter to them. Our votes on ballot measures reflect our priorities and values. All people, regardless of immigration status, have a right to quality education, good jobs, health care, public benefits, affordable housing, healthy environments, and human dignity. Our shared values are community, family, health, justice, equality, self-determination and democracy.

Quality and Affordable Education

Youth deserve an education that honors their communities’ histories, teaches critical thinking, and supports teachers with a living wage. Parents and students should be able to participate actively in and inform their children’s and their own education.

  • Provide culturally relevant curriculum, including bilingual education.
  • Make education affordable for young and older adults. Support working parents with quality and affordable child care and after-school programs.
  • End policing in schools.
  • Increase opportunities for youth to attend college, including a rigorous and relevant curriculum and greater access to financial aid.
Quality Jobs for California Workers

Every job is dignified and should be respected. All Californians should be able to provide the basics for themselves and their families and to save for a secure future.

  • Create jobs and training programs for immigrants and people of color, including ESL classes that help immigrants prepare for the workforce.
  • Fully enforce workers’ rights under the law.
  • Streamline the process for immigrants to continue their careers in the U.S.
  • Support day labor centers and the expansion of workplace rights for domestic workers.
Health Care and Public Benefits

Health care is a human right. Everyone should have access to quality health care and public benefits.

  • Ensure access to low-cost or free health care and coverage, with information in patients’ primary languages
  • Preserve and fully fund the social service “safety net” for everyone.
  • Provide low-income immigrant women and girls with access to culturally-appropriate information necessary to make informed decisions about their reproductive health and rights. Reproductive health needs to be an integral part of our state’s safety net.
Healthy, Habitable, and Affordable Housing

All communities, regardless of immigration status, deserve to live in housing that is safe, affordable for low-income families, and close to where they work.

  • Increase government funding to preserve, maintain, and build affordable and safe housing.
  • Expand, protect, and enforce the rights of renters.
  • Resource alternative models of housing for low-income immigrants and people of color including land ownership, collective ownership, housing co-ops, and community land trusts.
  • Promote responsible development that creates good jobs, housing, and transportation for low-income communities
Healthy Environments

Immigrants and people of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards and pollution. All people have a right to healthy environments where we live, work, play, pray and go to school.

  • End the production and dumping of toxins, hazardous wastes, nuclear materials, and pollution.
  • Respect sacred sites and the self-determination of indigenous and all peoples.
  • End the exploitation of our natural resources, wars, and other unjust policies that are the root causes of our ecological crisis, locally and globally.
  • Invest in sustainable planning and development that reduces the use of our natural resources and creates quality jobs in the “green industry.”
Protecting and Expanding Human and Civil Rights

All communities should be treated with respect and dignity regardless of race, religion, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disabilities.

  • Promote affirmative action policies, which provide opportunities to marginalized communities.
  • End the selective enforcement of laws.
  • Guarantee due process and the right to a fair trial for all people, including the right to appeal and an immediate stop to indefinite detentions and unfair deportations.
  • Ensure that government authorities do not subject anyone to cruel or abusive treatment or torture.
Immigration Policies that Treat Immigrants with Dignity

Immigrants fully participate in our society and contribute to our economic health. The U.S. should be a safe haven from persecution. We all lose out when immigrants, refugees and asylees are denied full citizenship.

  • Offer a fair path to citizenship without costly fees and fines, with special emphasis on reuniting families as simply and quickly as possible.
  • Increase civic participation through the expansion of naturalization services, ESL classes, and language-accessible materials and services.
  • Bring an immediate end to violence against immigrants and surrounding communities which includes stopping the raids and an end to the militarization of our communities at the border and in urban and rural areas.

When preparing to vote, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will this measure support or hurt vulnerable communities? What will be the long-term impact?
  • Who are the supporters? Who are the opponents? What do you know about these groups?
  • How will our government protect, respect and fulfill human rights through this measure? Will resources be taken away from important social programs?
  • Will this measure unite immigrants and U.S.-born communities?


California Voter Bill of Rights

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO:

  • VOTE IF YOU ARE IN LINE on Election Day when the polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. *§§ 14212 and 14401
  • VOTE WITHOUT SHOWING IDENTIFICATION if you are eligible to vote and your name is on the elec¬tion roster at the polling location, UNLESS you are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide proper identification during registration. § 14216
  • BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU if you are physically disabled, unable to read or write Eng¬lish, or unable to mark the ballot. If you are physically disabled, and your polling place is inaccessible, you have the right to vote in a nearby accessible location. §§ 14282(c), 14282(a); 42 U.S.C. § 1973 et seq.
  • TAKE TIME OFF WORK TO VOTE if you do not have sufficient time to vote outside of working hours. You may take up to two hours to vote at the beginning or the end of your regular working hours without a loss of pay. § 14000(a)-(b)
  • VOTE BY PROVISIONAL BALLOT if you are properly registered to vote, but your name is not listed in the elec¬tion roster. §§ 14217, 14310(a)
  • VOTE IF YOU HAVE MOVED within the same county but have not yet re-registered at your new address. You can vote by a provisional ballot in the election precinct of your new residence, at the office of your county elections official or at a central location designated by your county elections official. § 14311(a)-(b)
  • VOTE IF YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR NAME since you registered to vote. § 14218
  • RECEIVE UP TO TWO REPLACEMENT BALLOTS if you make a mistake or “spoil” your ballot. § 14288
  • VOTE WITHOUT BEING INTIMIDATED or photographed if you are within 100 feet of a polling place entrance. You have the right to cast a secret ballot free from intimidation. §§ 18541, 2300(a)(4)
  • VOTE WITHOUT HAVING YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE CHALLENGED by anyone other than a poll worker. § 14240(a)-(b)
  • VOTE IF YOU HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A FELONY, but have completed your sentence, including any period of parole, after re-registering to vote. § 2101
  • RETURN YOUR COMPLETED ABSENTEE BALLOT in person to any precinct in the county. §§ 2300(a)(7), 3017(a)
  • BRING YOUR CHILD INTO THE VOTING BOOTH, if the child is under 18 years of age. § 14222
  • RECEIVE INFORMATION IN YOUR OWN LANGUAGE including sample ballots, general information, and interpreters. Languages vary by county. Please call your county registrar of voters to ask which languages are available in your county. You can also sign up to get translated voting materials sent to you before every election. You can find your county registrar at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_d.htm. § 14201; 42 U.S.C. § 1973 et seq.; 67 Fed. Reg. 48,871
  • This is the number of the California Elections Code for each of the rights listed.

We included the codes to refer to in case your rights are being denied.

Take this with you to the polls!!!

To report any problems at the polls, call

  • Chinese: 1-800-339-2857
  • English: 1-800-345-8683
  • Korean: 1-866-575-1558
  • Spanish: 1-800-232-8682
  • Tagalog: 1-800-339-2957
  • Vietnamese: 1-800-339-8163
  • TDD: 1-800-833-8683
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