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Opinion: An (almost) mistaken vote for Proposition 65, the carryout bag fee

This is a recreation illustrating how I mistakenly marked my Official Sample Ballot Sunday.
(Mariel Garza/ Los Angeles Times)
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I, of all people, should have known better.

On Saturday I sat at the dining room table, circling my picks in the Official Sample Ballot booklet in preparation for filling out the numbered bubbles on my Official For-Real Vote-by-Mail Ballot. I moved through them quickly. After months of writing and thinking and arguing about the state and local propositions, I thought I knew them cold.

Without a hesitation I circled No. 152 — yes for Proposition 65.

How could I have done that? I didn’t intend to vote for Prop. 65. In fact, I had written the Times’ endorsement against this measure. I wrote another editorial trying to clear up confusion about Prop. 65, so people didn’t vote for it mistakenly thinking they were sticking it to the plastic bag industry.

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(Quick background: Prop. 65 is a companion to Proposition 67, the referendum on the 2014 law banning single-use plastic bags and requiring consumers pay at least 10 cents if they choose to use a paper carryout bag instead of bringing a reusable shopping bag. If both measures pass, the fee collected by grocers to pay for paper bags would have to be directed into environmental programs.)

The plastic bag industry paid millions to get Prop. 65 on the ballot. (That’s on top of the millions it spent on Prop. 67) Why? Good question. Many environmentalists suspect that Prop. 65 is a red herring by the plastic bag industry to confuse voters and possibly muddy the waters for Prop. 67.

Well, it confused at least one voter: me. Though I caught my mistake just before inking in the bubble 152 on my real ballot, I wonder how many voters didn’t.

mariel.garza@latimes.com

Follow me @marielgarzaLAT

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