California Voters

California voter registration has reached 79% of people eligible to vote — the highest rate since the 1996 presidential election — and over 20 million voters.


The California Civic Engagement Project — led by CDT ally Mindy Romero — has released a fact sheet with analysis of the Latinx and Asian American vote in the 2018 election, and the Sacramento Bee explores how the Latinx vote may have impacted the election results, especially adding to the now historic number of Latinx state legislators and statewide officeholders.


SD33 Special Election Endorsement

The changing voter demographics in California has political parties and special interests strategizing on how to capture more of the new majority vote, which has fueled the rise of moderate, corporate-backed legislators of color who gut and kill progressive policies that would have protected their own communities. That’s why CDT and Voices for Progress partner on endorsing progressive candidates who reflect the demographics AND values of our diverse communities and work closely with a network of progressive local, regional and statewide groups to help get them elected.


CDT has an opportunity to send another progressive Latinx woman, Lena Gonzalez, to the State Senate in our joint endorsement with Voices for Progress (V4P) for the SD33 special election to replace now-Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. The special election primary on March 26 is only 12 days away, and we can help Lena avoid a run-off election in June if she secures 50% +1 of the primary vote. Support her campaign by donating online, or send your name, address, occupation, employer and checks payable to “Lena Gonzalez for Senate 2019” to: Voices for Progress, 312 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401. We highly recommend also including your preferred contact information to share with the candidate so that she can thank you and you can build an ongoing relationship continuing once she’s in office.


Congratulations, Wendy Carrillo!

Emily’s List awarded Latinx Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (AD51) with their 2019 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. CDT and V4P endorsed Wendy in her special election campaign in 2017, and she has proven herself to be a progressive champion: she has a 100% score from Courage Campaign, California Labor Federation and California League of Conservation Voters.


2020 Census and 2021 Redistricting

A U.S. District Court in Northern California ruled that the citizenship question on the 2020 Census violates federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear the case by April.


As discussed in the last newsletter, California’s independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will redraw legislative and congressional district lines in 2021 based on the 2020 Census. The Commission will select 14 commissioners: 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 4 people from neither party. As a comparison, 2018 voter registration was 44% Democratic, 27% No Party Preference, and 25% Republican. The LA Times underscores how the Republican overrepresentation could influence the process. Contact Ludovic to learn more about how we can work to ensure that the 5 Democrats are progressive, the 4 commissioners who are not affiliated with a party reflect the state, and both groups are culturally competent enough to draw lines effectively.


California Congressional Races

In 2018, CDT supported partner community groups and regional tables in engaging and turning out thousands of voters in key congressional, state and local races in flip districts in San Diego, Orange County and Central Valley. We celebrated many wins and promising near-wins that were a culmination of a decade of investing in these groups and tables.


And in a demonstration of how progressive Californians need to lead our state and nation, the DCCC has designated California congressional member Devin Nunes (Central Valley) and Duncan Hunter (San Diego) two of their top targets for 2020. “This time around, the DCCC says it will invest in organizers on the ground in the Central Valley and Orange County, where they’ll fight to protect the seven freshmen Democrats who picked up Republican-held seats while also focusing on Republican incumbents.” (emphasis ours)


Criminal Justice

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to place a moratorium on the death penalty, reprieving 737 California Death Row inmates. Assemblymember Marc Levine (AD10) introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the death penalty, which would require ⅔ of both houses of the legislature, plus a majority of California voters. As cited in a recent Working Hero newsletter (emphases from original text):


  • People of color have accounted for 43% of executions since 1976 and 55% of those currently awaiting execution.
  • Murder rates in non-Death Penalty states has remained lower than murder rates in states with the Death Penalty.
  • 88% of criminology experts surveyed in 2009 rejected the notion that the Death Penalty acts as a deterrent to murder.
  • 156 people have been exonerated from death row since 1973. Yet one innocent person executed is too many.

ACLU of Northern California is calling on California lawmakers to request a statewide audit of data-sharing practices that violate the sanctuary state and city laws. “The collection of more than 1,000 pages of contracts, emails, manuals and other materials shows some California law enforcement departments have granted ICE unfettered access to the personal data of drivers and that federal officials are using it to track and locate immigrants in the country illegally who might not have criminal records and could be protected under the state’s sanctuary and privacy policies.”



After Proposition 10 failed to pass last year, state assemblymembers are putting together a package of affordable housing legislation, including a policy that would repeal part of Costa-Hawkins to allow some local rent control. CDT partner Christina Livingston at Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment is quoted as saying more needs to be done in addition to the legislation.


Mother Jones connects the recent Oakland and Los Angeles teacher strikes to the structural problem — a gutted tax base that CDT partner Million Voter Project Action Fund is trying to restore through the 2020 Schools and Communities First ballot initiative. Contact Nicole if you are interested in supporting the initiative (she’ll continue to work with us on this even as she transitions to Way to Win).