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The L.A. Times’ endorsements in the November 2020 election

Illustration of stylized buildings, people and a California bear
(Illustration by Raul Arias / For The Times)
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Californians will have several weeks in which to vote in this year’s general election. The voting period begins Oct. 5, when county registrars start sending out ballots (although they won’t begin to arrive in mailboxes until later that week and into the following week), and concludes on Nov. 3, the official election day. Voters can return their marked ballots by mail or drop them off at vote centers. Ballots postmarked by election day will be counted if they are received up to 17 days later.

Meanwhile, be sure you’re registered. In Los Angeles County, check your status at LAVote.net. In other counties, check with your registrar of voters. For more guidance on how to vote, check out this video.

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VIDEO | 01:49
How to vote in Los Angeles County | Election 2020

Mail-in ballots, registration deadlines, voting centers — we’ve got you covered with the basics of voting in the Nov. 3 election.

The Times endorses selectively. Recommendations for this election include president, one congressional race, the 12 statewide ballot measures and several Los Angeles city, county and school contests.

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These are The Times’ recommendations so far, with links to our full endorsements. Check here frequently for updates. This list won’t be complete until around the time you receive your blank ballot in the mail.

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PRESIDENT

Joe Biden
President Trump’s record easily justifies a position of “Anybody but Trump.” But former Vice President Biden isn’t just preferable to Trump; in many respects, he is Trump’s antithesis.

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CONGRESS

House of Representatives, District 25 — Christy Smith
Congress has enough political extremists pounding away at the partisan wedge. What it needs are more lawmakers like Smith who quietly work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make government better.

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CALIFORNIA BALLOT MEASURES

Proposition 15 (property tax “split roll” for commercial and industrial real estate)
Yes
At long last, here is a fix for one of California’s most intractable problems: a wildly unfair and lopsided property tax system that has starved local governments of revenue and distorted the cost of buying a house and starting a business.

Proposition 16 (repeal of ban on affirmative action in state programs)
Yes
Proposition 209, a ban on affirmative action programs in public institutions that voters adopted in 1996, has set back the state’s efforts to promote diversity. It’s past time to remove it.

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Proposition 17 (restoring parolees’ right to vote)
Yes
In California, felons who have served their time in prison are denied the right to vote until they finish their parole. That’s an obstacle they don’t need as they reintegrate into society.

Proposition 18 (right to vote in primaries for some 17-year-old Californians)
-- Yes
It makes sense that the teens who will be 18 years old and eligible to vote in a general election in California should also help decide, when they are 17, whose names will be on that ballot.

Proposition 19 (transfer of property tax assessments when homes are sold)
No
By letting older homeowners keep the property tax break they’ve built up when they move to a new home, Proposition 19 would extend inequality by benefiting those who were lucky enough to buy a home years ago and hold onto it as values skyrocketed.

Proposition 21 (rent control authority for local jurisdictions)
Yes
Cities are on the front lines of managing the upheaval and suffering caused by the state’s housing crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. They need the flexibility to adopt policies in response, such as limits on rent increases or temporary rent freezes.

Proposition 22 (treating app drivers as independent contractors)
No
California needs a better approach to gig workers. But rather than accepting the bad bargain Proposition 22 presents, voters should demand a better, broader answer from Sacramento.

Proposition 23 (dialysis clinic requirements)
No
There’s no evidence that the measure would protect the health and safety of dialysis patients, but there’s plenty of evidence that it is being improperly used as a labor organizing tool.

Proposition 24 (consumer data privacy)
Yes
The state’s groundbreaking data privacy law has come under attack in the Legislature. This measure would expand the protections for personal data and bar the Legislature from weakening them, while leaving the door open for improvements.

Endorsements coming in the following races:

Proposition 14 ($5.5-billion general obligation bond for the state’s stem cell research institute)

Proposition 20 (criminal justice reform rollbacks)

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Proposition 25 (money bail referendum)

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY BALLOT MEASURE

Los Angeles County Measure J (shifting county dollars into certain social programs)
Yes
If the county is to fund a community-based, care-first approach to public safety without raising taxes, the Board of Supervisors will have to allocate a greater share of its existing funds to those programs than it currently does.

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICES

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors District 2
Holly Mitchell
The people of L.A. County’s 2nd District need Mitchell’s vision of and commitment to better justice, better health and smarter development.

Los Angeles County district attorney
George Gascón
One of the first police leaders to question the old-style tough-on-crime approach, Gascón is the right candidate at the right time in the largest local criminal justice jurisdiction in the United States.

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

Superior Court Office No. 72
Steve Morgan
Morgan has been in numerous trials, some as a criminal defense lawyer, some as a prosecutor, some in military court and many in L.A. County Superior Court. Judges before whom he has appeared and lawyers whom he has worked with praise his skill and his demeanor.

Superior Court Office No. 80
David Berger
Berger, an experienced criminal prosecutor, has developed over the years from an old-school tough-on-crime prosecutor to one who recognizes the importance of rehabilitative alternatives to incarceration.

Superior Court Office No. 162
David D. Diamond
Diamond brings some of the breadth of experience it would be nice to have more of on the bench, yet he also has solid trial experience. A former member of the Burbank Police Commission, he has worked as a family lawyer, a civil litigator and a criminal defense lawyer.

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LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL

District 4
David Ryu
Ryu has impressed during his first term with his willingness to listen, learn and respond, and to fight the good fight in the face of opposition from defenders of the status quo. He’s earned a second term.

District 10
Mark Ridley-Thomas
Voters would have a hard time finding another candidate with Ridley-Thomas’ experience and knowledge or his long list of accomplishments. His perspective will be especially helpful as the council grapples with how to reimagine policing in L.A.

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LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Measure RR ($7-billion bond)
Yes
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that new investments in school infrastructure and equipment are crucial right now and that the public cannot expect these to come out of a depleted general budget.

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Endorsements coming in the following races:

Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education seats 3 and 7

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT

Endorsements coming in the following races:

Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees seats 1, 3, 5 and 7

How, exactly, does The Times’ editorial board decide on its endorsements? This is what the process looks like.