Prop 15 lost, but we'll be back  (6/12/10)

Prop 15 lost, but we'll be back
Fair Elections coalition logos

What is Prop 15?

Prop 15 changes the way we finance election campaigns so politicians so politicians stay focused on the job we elect them to accomplish.

A pilot project to publicly finance Secretary of State candidates in 2014 and 2018.

Removes the ban on public financing of campaigns in California so all cities, counties, and offices can explore it.


League of Women Voters of CA
CA Nurses Association
CA Common Cause
CA Clean Money Campaign
CA Coalition for Civil Rights
CA Federation of Teachers
CA Labor Federation
Consumer Federation of CA
Sierra Club
United Teachers of Los Angeles

Learn more
As most of you know by now, Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act, lost in Tuesday's election after receiving 43% of the vote.  This is a great disappointment to all of us who want to limit the outrageous amounts of money in politics and make sure that elections are won, not bought.

But the movement for getting big money out of politics has made tremendous strides, and will continue.

This wasn't a rejection of public funding of campaigns by informed voters.  In fact, Prop 15 did extremely well in areas of the state where voters heard about it because they had active grassroots volunteers educating the public.  Prop 15 achieved majority support in eight counties around the Bay Area and likely the city of Los Angeles.  It also surpassed expectations in other parts of the state that had active grassroots groups.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a fair fight.  20-25 million deceptive paid slate mailers were sent out with "No on 15" messages falsely claiming that it would "raise taxes".  This combined with an unfavorable court ruling on the ballot language and the fact that there were historic lows in both voter turnout and turnout by the traditional base for Fair Elections ended up making this an impossible election to pass Prop 15.

But we will not give up the fight.  With your help, the Yes on 15 campaign, led by the California Clean Money Action Fund, California Common Cause, the California Nurses Association, and the League of Women Voters of California made tremendous progress in building the movement for Fair Elections public funding of campaigns.

Growth of Voter Support for Fair Elections:  The vote in favor of full public funding of campaigns increased by 17% over Prop 89 in 2006, with it achieving majority support in eight Bay Area counties and likely the city of Los Angeles.
Organizational Endorsements:  Our campaign made historic progress for Fair Elections in California, with nearly 500 endorsing organizations and leaders, including important firsts of getting the endorsement of critical groups like the California Labor Federation, the California Federation of Teachers, the California Retired Teachers Association, Voto Latino, and the California Democratic Party.  Part of the gains in Prop 15's vote over Prop 89's is explained by this new support, which will provide an important base for Fair Elections going forward.
Newspaper Endorsements and Press:  The campaign won the newspaper editorial endorsements battle, with most of the largest newspapers in the state endorsing Prop 15 and Fair Elections, including the LA Times, the SF Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the Fresno Bee, the LA Daily News, the Torrance Daily Breeze, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the Bakersfield Californian, the East Bay Express, and the Marin IJ.  The support of conservative newspapers in the Central Valley like the Fresno Bee and Bakersfield Californian and Spanish-language papers like La Opinion and Eastside Sun represent especially important progress.
Grassroots Growth:  There were a total 21 active grassroots working groups during the campaign, helping sign up over 6,000 new active Fair Elections supporters, generating 300+ local organization and elected endorsements, and getting 120,000 official campaign brochures and countless other pieces of campaign literature into the hands of area voters. They generated over 25,000 calls to voters and helped generate a remarkable 2,700 individual donations to the campaign.  This new capacity should be extremely helpful in any new local, statewide, or national efforts going forward.


Thank you all for everything you did.  The number of you who took time out of your busy lives to work for Fair Elections and who made personal donations to the campaign is awe-inspiring to me and to everybody else who worked on this campaign.  It is the kind of support that movements are built on.

So stay tuned for ways you can stay involved to help advance the cause of public funding of campaigns, from local efforts to supporting the national Fair Elections Now Act.  And we may also need to take on the slate mailers and other deceptive political advertisements that sabotaged this and so many other campaigns.  Together, we will achieve Fair Elections.

As Governor Schwarzenegger might say:

We'll be back!

Trent Lange
Chair, Yes on Proposition 15, Californians for Fair Elections
President, California Clean Money Campaign

Help Pass Prop 15!

Yes on Proposition 15, Californians for Fair Elections,
A coalition of nurses and government reform advocates (FPPC ID # 1317708).
3916 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 109, Culver City, CA  90230.
Phone: (310) 397-0200.  Fax: (888) 633-8898.  Email: