Dec 3, 2020 · 2 min read

Communities Vote on State and Local Ballot Measures


This election cycle, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative stood alongside diverse coalitions of advocates, community and business leaders, faith-based organizations, elected officials, and other philanthropies to back and oppose measures that impact CZI’s focus areas. Many of our coalition partners have been working on these issues for years, and their progress around bold policy initiatives continues.

Californians made their voices heard on criminal justice reform by striking down Prop. 20, which would have overturned existing reforms in the state. “There is a growing movement in this country to reverse mass incarceration and restore dignity and justice to tens of millions of people and their families — especially in communities of color — who have been impacted by harsh sentencing laws and over-criminalization of offenses,” said Ana Zamora, Director of Criminal Justice Reform.  “Californians have been leaders on this, and voters reaffirmed their commitment to reform in this election.”

Oregon also saw an unprecedented victory, passing Measure 110 to decriminalize all drug possession. “This historic measure will reorient Oregon’s criminal justice system away from punishment and incarceration toward one that centers health, safety, and evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders,” said Jolene Forman, Director of Criminal Justice Policy. “We hope to see other states utilize similar health-based alternatives to incarceration.”

In Alameda County, voters passed Measure W to directly tackle the homelessness crisis. A final count on Measure Y in San Mateo County — an effort to impose height and density rules in the region — is still under way.

And while some measures were not adopted — like Propositions 15 and 16 in California — CZI is proud to have partnered on these historic campaigns that generated critical community debates and built a strong foundation for future efforts.

“The coalition for Proposition 15 has been — and remains — committed to tackling some of California’s most pressing local challenges, particularly in communities that have been systematically under-resourced for decades,” said Michael Troncoso, VP and Head of Justice & Opportunity. “The momentum they’ve generated around this issue will live on far past the election, and we’re proud to stand with them.”

CZI has always been committed to engaging in policy work to help drive lasting change, including bold efforts that would be intensely contested. “Regardless of any single outcome, we will continue to push for progress in the areas where our work is focused,” added Troncoso.

To date, CZI has supported 16 ballot measures across our issues areas, beginning in 2016.

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