California Voter Guide

California Voter Guide

Try this short quiz to see which candidates and ballot propositions you side with in the 2016 California election.

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Where do you side on science issues?

Should the federal government require children to be vaccinated for preventable diseases? Learn more?

In January 2014, 102 measles cases linked to an outbreak at Disneyland were reported in 14 states. The outbreak alarmed the CDC, which declared the disease eliminated in the U.S. in the year 2000. Many health officials have tied the outbreak to the rising number of unvaccinated children under the age of 12. Proponents of a mandate argue that vaccines are necessary in order to insure herd immunity against preventable diseases. Herd immunity protects people who are unable to get vaccines due to their age or health condition. Opponents of a mandate believe the government should not be able to decide which vaccines their children should receive. Some opponents also believe there is a link between vaccinations and autism and vaccinating their children will have destructive consequences on their early childhood development.  See public opinion

Should producers be required to label genetically engineered foods (GMOs)? Learn more?

Currently, GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods in the United States are not classified differently by the FDA and do not require labeling. Although no reports of ill effects from GMO foods have been documented, advocacy groups such as Greenpeace and the Organic Consumers Association argue that past studies cannot be trusted because they were sponsored by pro-GMO companies and do not measure the long-term effects on humans, the environment, and nature. Opponents argue that labeling adds an unfounded stigma over organic foods and that if a nutritional or allergenic difference were found, current FDA regulations would already require a label.  See public opinion

Do you support the use of nuclear energy? Learn more?

Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power station. In the U.S. 100 nuclear reactors provide 20% of the country's energy. Proponents argue that nuclear energy is now safe and emits much less carbon emissions than coal plants. Opponents argue that recent nuclear disasters in Japan prove that nuclear power is far from safe.  See public opinion

Should the government fund space travel? Learn more?

In 2014 NASA received $17.6 Billion in funding from the U.S. government. This represented .5% of the of the $3.4 Trillion budget last year and 35% of total spending on academic scientific research in the United States.  See public opinion

Where do you side on foreign policy issues?

Should foreign terrorism suspects be given constitutional rights? Learn more?

In 2002, the George W. Bush administration issued the Torture Memos which argued for a narrow definition of torture under U.S. law. They included granting the CIA authority to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” on enemy combatants. The techniques included waterboarding subjection to extreme cold and confinement in small boxes.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. accept refugees from Syria? Learn more?

President Obama recently declared that the U.S. will accept 10,000 refugees from Syria. The U.S. has been under pressure from its Syrian allies to help out with the crisis in which 3 Million refugees have fled Syria in the past year. Those in favor of accepting refugees believe that the U.S. has a duty to join its allies in Europe and accept at least 10,000 refugees. Opponents argue that the U.S. should stay out of this crisis and accepting refugees from the Middle East leads to a risk of letting terrorists into our borders.  See public opinion

Should the government increase or decrease military spending? Learn more?

In 2015, the U.S.’ estimated military budget is expected to be $601 billion, down from $610 billion spent in 2014. The U.S. outspends the next six highest spending nations combined. China has the second largest budget at $216 billion and Russia has the third largest with $84.5 billion.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. continue to support Israel? Learn more?

The U.S. currently gives $3.3 billion to Israel every year, which is 1/3rd of the U.S.’s foreign aid budget. Most of the aid is used by Israel to buy American military hardware, such as jets and components for missile defense.  See public opinion

Should the military be allowed to use enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, to gain information from suspected terrorists? Learn more?

After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks the George W. Bush administration authorized the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” at secret detention facilities around the world run by the defense department and CIA. The authorization approved the use of many techniques including beatings, binding in stress positions, hooding, sleep deprivation and waterboarding. In 2008 President Obama signed an executive order banning the use torture by the U.S. military and CIA. In 2016 the use of torture became a topic during the Presidential race when candidate Donald Trump suggested it should be used against the Islamic State. Opponents of torture argue that the U.S. should never practice torture since it is inhumane and illegal under international law. Proponents argue that the military should not be prevented from using torture if they believe it will keep the country safe.  See public opinion

Should every 18 year old citizen be required to provide at least one year of military service? Learn more?

Military service is not required in the U.S. Proponents of required service argue that it isn’t fair that a small percentage of Americans serve in the military to protect the rest of the population. Opponents argue that the requirement is unnecessary because modern warfare is fought less and less with ground troops and more with unmanned technology including drones.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. formally declare war on ISIS? Learn more?

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recently proposed declaring war against the Islamic State (ISIS). The declaration would give the President more authority to carry out broader attacks on the militant group without Congressional approval. Opponents argue that the order would give the President too much power by eliminating Congressional oversight. Proponents argue that fighting an organization like ISIS requires an unconventional war plan that requires the President to make quick decisions without Congressional oversight.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. remain in the United Nations? Learn more?

The UN. is an organization of governments founded in 1945 after World War II. The organization's objectives include promoting peace and security, protecting human rights and the environment and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. Recent U.N. interventions include the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The U.S. joined the U.N. as a founding member in 1945. The U.S. is the largest financial contributor to the UN and contributes more than $650 million annually.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. send ground troops into Syria to fight ISIS? Learn more?

After the November 13th attacks in Paris several Presidential candidates gave new positions on how the U.S. should combat ISIS in the Syria. The U.S. is currently involved in a coalition of 19 countries that has launched 8,000 airstrikes against ISIS. None of the countries currently have ground troops in Syria.  See public opinion

Should the military fly drones over foreign countries to gain intelligence and kill suspected terrorists? Learn more?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles deployed by U.S. defense and intelligence agencies to collect data and strike suspected enemy targets.  See public opinion

Should the US increase or decrease foreign aid spending? Learn more?

Currently, the United States gives $31.55B, or .19% of GDP, development assistance to other countries. The top 10 recipient countries include Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, West Bank/Gaza, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Malawi, Uganda, and South Africa.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. remain in NATO? Learn more?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on April 4th, 1949. It is a political and military alliance of member countries from Europe and North America that agree to provide military and economic security for each other. NATO makes all of its decisions by consensus and every member country, no matter how large or small, has an equal say.  See public opinion

Do you support President Obama’s move to lift the trade and travel embargo on Cuba? Learn more?

In December 2014 President Obama ordered the restoration of full democratic relations with Cuba. The order lifted a 54 year old trade embargo and eased restrictions on banking and American’s travel to the country. Proponents of relations with Cuba argue that U.S. influence through tourism and trade will promote capitalism and weaken its communist regime. Opponents argue that trade and diplomatic relations will only strengthen the communist regime’s grip on the Cuban government.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. conduct military strikes against North Korea in order to destroy their long-range missile and nuclear weapons capabilities? Learn more?

In January of 2016, North Korea announced that it detonated its first hydrogen bomb. CBS News reported that the U.S. intelligence community is skeptical that North Korea used a thermonuclear device. The blast was in single-digit kilotons, and a thermonuclear device is measured in megatons. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has been more ambitious than his father in the pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, even in the face of warnings from China. Proponents of military strikes argue that North Korea crossed a line with its latest test and must be stopped at all costs. Opponents argue that North Korea repeatedly lies about its missile capabilities and that the we should let other countries in the region, such as China and South Korea, address this issue.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. overthrow President Assad of Syria? Learn more?

The Syrian Civil war began in the spring of 2011 after nationwide protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad resulted in armed conflict. After rebels seized control of several major cities, ISIS forces moved in and took over control of many regions of northern Syria. The government of Assad responded by carrying out airstrikes resulting in over 70,000 civilian deaths. Proponents of overthrowing Assad argue that he is a brutal dictator who must be removed from power before he carries out any more atrocities on innocent Syrian civilians. Opponents of regime change, including President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, argue that removing Assad will result in a power vacuum that will destabilize the Middle East.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. provide military aid to Saudi Arabia during its conflict with Yemen? Learn more?

In March 2015, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi was removed from office during a civil war with the Shiite Houthis movement. The Houthis were led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was removed from power during the 2011 Arab Spring. Neighboring Sunni Saudi Arabia viewed President Hadi’s removal as a threat and responded by conducting airstrikes against the Houthi’s in Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s allies, including the U.S., U.K. and Egypt, suspected Iran was behind the Houthi uprising and responded by providing military aid to the Saudi armed forces. The United Nations declared the airstrikes a violation federal law after several hundred civilians were killed in the first month of the airstrikes . Proponents of the intervention, including Secretary of State John Kerry, claim that the Houthis are being supported by Iran and U.S. intervention is necessary to maintain the balance of power in the region. Critics argue that the U.S. should not be involved in a conflict which has killed hundreds of innocent civilians.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. continue NSA surveillance of its allies? Learn more?

The cache of documents revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that the U.S. used surveillance methods to monitor the emails and phone calls of its closest foreign allies including Germany, France and Brazil. The revelations have severely damaged the U.S.'s relationship with these countries even though State Department officials have insisted that these surveillance programs have thwarted many terrorist threats worldwide.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. prevent Russia from conducting airstrikes in Syria? Learn more?

In late September 2015, the Russian army conducted its first airstrikes in Syria and claimed they were intended to target ISIS positions within the country. U.S. military leaders and the Obama administration immediately warned that Russia is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and that the Russians will eventually turn their airstrikes against Syrian rebels who were recently supported by the U.S. Opponents of any further intervention in Syria argue that U.S. efforts to train rebels have failed miserably and we should stay out any further conflict in the region.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. provide military assistance to defend Ukraine from Russia? Learn more?

In March 2014, Russian soldiers entered Ukraine and took control of several strategic positions within the country. The following month the Ukrainian parliament declared that its territory was officially being occupied by Russia. The invasion was immediately condemned by the U.S. and other U.N. member states as a direct invasion of a sovereign country and an act of war. In response NATO countries began military exercises in the region including the addition of 600 U.S. ground troops in Poland. Opponents of military action argue that the conflict the U.S. should not get involved in regional conflicts that do not directly threaten the U.S. Proponents argue that Russian military aggression against Ukraine threatens the balance of power in the region and the U.S. military should directly aid Ukrainian forces to prevent the conflict from spreading to Europe.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. defend other NATO countries that maintain low military defense budgets relative to their GDP? Learn more?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance formed by 28 countries in 1949 after the Second World War. To join NATO each member country pledged to spend at least 2% of their GDP on military spending and defense and defend each other against threats from any non-member country. In a July 2016 interview with the New York Times Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested that the United States would not defend NATO member countries who had failed to increase their military budgets to above 2% of Gross Domestic Product. The suggestion defies a pact made by NATO members when it was formed in WWII that they would defend each other against any attack by a non-member nation. France, Turkey, Germany, Canada, and Italy are countries that are currently spending less than 2% of their GDP on military defense.  See public opinion

Should the government cancel production of the F-35 fighter? Learn more?

The F-35 fighter is a stealth fighter jet being produced for the U.S. military by The Lockheed Martin corporation. Three variations of the single seat stealth fighter jet are being produced for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. By 2037 2,457 F-35’s will be delivered to the military and will fly until they retire from service in 2070. The research, development and construction of the F-35 will be the most expensive military weapons program in the history of the U.S. When the F-35 retires in 2070 analysts estimate that the cost of the program will have exceeded $1.5 trillion. Opponents of the program argue that costs for the program are out of control and that the military should scrap the F-35 and continue to fly its current planes. Proponents argue that the fighter is necessary for the U.S. military to maintain its edge over foreign adversaries.  See public opinion

Where do you side on electoral issues?

Should all bills before the state legislature be posted on the internet for public viewing? learn more about Proposition 54

Proposition 54 will require all bills before the legislature to be posted online 72 hours before they are voted on. The proposition also requires the legislature to post audio recordings of each session online and allows them to be replayed without permission from the state. The recordings will cost taxpayers a fee of approximately $1 million to set up.  See public opinion

Should the California State Legislature Overturn Citizen's United? learn more about Proposition 59

Proposition 59 grants California's elected officials the authority to propose and ratify an amendment to the federal Constitution overturning the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Citizens United ruled that laws placing certain limits on political spending by corporations and unions are unconstitutional. There is no direct fiscal effect on state or local governments.  See public opinion

Should a photo ID be required to vote? Learn more?

Since 2011, twelve states have passed laws that require a photo identification to vote. Supporters argue that ID’s are needed to increase confidence in elections and prevent voter fraud. Critics argue that voter fraud rarely exists and that ID requirements are intended to suppress turnout by economically disadvantaged voters.  See public opinion

Should foreigners, currently residing in the United States, have the right to vote? Learn more?

In most countries, suffrage, the right to vote, is generally limited to citizens of the country. Some countries, however, extend limited voting rights to resident non-citizens.  See public opinion

Should foreign lobbyists be allowed to raise money for American elections? Learn more?

Currently, federal election law prohibits political candidates from knowingly soliciting, accepting or receiving donations from foreign nationals or entities under any circumstances. However, a loophole exists where foreign nationals or entities can hire lobbyists to meet with or donate directly to politicians to persuade them to vote favorably for the foreign interest.  See public opinion

Should the electoral college be abolished? Learn more?

The United States Electoral College is the mechanism established by the United States Constitution for the indirect election of the President of the United States and Vice President of the United States. Citizens of the United States vote in each state at a general election to choose a slate of "electors" pledged to vote for a party's candidate. The Twelfth Amendment requires each elector to cast one vote for president and another vote for vice president.  See public opinion

Should corporations, unions, and non-profit organizations be allowed to donate to political parties?

Should there be a limit to the amount of money a candidate can receive from a donor? Learn more?

In the U.S. a citizen may give $2,700 per election to a federal candidate, $5,000 per year to a PAC, $10,000 per year to a State or local party committee and $33,400 per year to a national party. Citizens and corporations may give unlimited amounts to a Super PAC. A Super PAC is freed from traditional campaign finance laws as long as it does not fund a candidate or campaign or coordinate directly with a campaign how to spend donations.  See public opinion

Should the minimum voting age be lowered?

Should there be a 5-year ban on White House and Congressional officials from becoming lobbyists after they leave the government? Learn more?

Currently, the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act” which was signed by President George W. Bush in 2007 bans former senators and top executive branch officials from becoming lobbyists for two years and they leave the government.  See public opinion

Should political candidates be required to release their recent tax returns to the public? Learn more?

A tax return is a document which states how much income an individual or entity reported to the government.  See public opinion

Should a politician, who has been formerly convicted of a crime, be allowed to run for office? Learn more?

The U.S. constitution does not prevent convicted felons from holding the office of the President or a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives. States may prevent convicted felons candidates from holding statewide and local offices.  See public opinion

Where do you side on immigration issues?

Should immigrants be deported if they commit a serious crime? Learn more?

In 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015 (Kate’s Law.) The law was introduced after San Francisco 32 year old San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez on July 1, 2015. Lopez-Sanchez was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been deported on five separate occasions since 1991 and been charged with seven felony convictions. Since 1991 Lopez-Sanchez had been charged with seven felony convictions and deported five times by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Although Lopez-Sanchez had several outstanding warrants in 2015 authorities were unable to deport him due to San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy which prevents law enforcement officials from questioning a resident’s immigration status. Proponents of sanctuary city laws argue that they enable illegal immigrants to report crimes without the fear of being reported. Opponents argue that sanctuary city laws provide encourage illegal immigration and prevent law enforcement authorities from detaining and deporting criminals.  See public opinion

Should illegal immigrants have access to government-subsidized healthcare? Learn more?

Illegal immigrants, as well as legal immigrants in the country less than five years, are not eligible for free healthcare through Medicaid. A 2007 study estimated that less than 1 percent of Medicaid spending went to healthcare for illegal immigrants. Proponents of subsidized healthcare for immigrants argue that increased access to basic preventive care will lower the demand for costly emergency care. Opponents argue that immigrants in the healthcare system run the risk of becoming "permanent patients," because they have no relatives, insurance or an established address where they can go once released.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. build a wall along the southern border? Learn more?

In 2015 U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a proposal to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. The wall would extend along the 1,900 mile border and would prevent illegal goods and people from entering the U.S. In 2013 the Government Accountability Office reported that the border patrol had intercepted 61% of individuals who had attempted to cross the border that year. Analysts say that building a wall along the entire border is impossible since it parts of it contain rocky, uneven terrain. Proponents argue that the wall will cut down on the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into the U.S. Opponents argue that the wall is impossible to build and illegal immigration into the U.S. has declined significantly since the 2008 financial crisis.  See public opinion

Should Muslim immigrants be banned from entering the country until the government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists? Learn more?

At a December 7th campaign stop in South Carolina, Presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. The announcement sparked outrage from across the political spectrum with Republicans and Democrats both deeming it unconstitutional. Proponents argue that the government has little idea who is entering the U.S. through its current immigration system and that a temporary ban on Muslims is necessary after the terrorist attack in California. Opponents argue that the proposed ban is unconstitutional and racist towards Muslims.  See public opinion

Should illegal immigrants be offered in-state tuition rates at public colleges within their residing state? Learn more?

Currently sixteen states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington) allow illegal immigrants to pay the same in-state tuition rates as other residents of the state. To qualify, students must have attended a school in the state for a certain number of years, have graduated high school in the state, have confirmed they are applying for legal citizenship.  See public opinion

Should sanctuary cities receive federal funding? Learn more?

A sanctuary city is a city that adopts local policies designed to not prosecute people solely for being an undocumented individual in the country in which they are currently living.  See public opinion

Should immigrants be required to learn English? Learn more?

The U.S. nationality law requires applicants to have a working knowledge of the English language in order achieve citizenship. In 1990 the government passed exceptions to this requirement for older applicants and those with mental or physical disabilities.  See public opinion

Should children of illegal immigrants be granted legal citizenship? Learn more?

The 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Opponents of birth right citizenship argue that the 14th amendment is not clear since it does not specifically state that babies born to parents who were in the United States unlawfully were automatically citizens. Proponents argue that overturning the 14th amendment would increase the number of undocumented immigrants with each child born here, cost the U.S. taxpayers billions, and reduce the tax base.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. increase restrictions on its current border security policy? Learn more?

Congress has passed at least four laws since 1986 authorizing increases in Border Patrol personnel. The number of border patrol agents on the southwest border has grown from 2,268 in 1980 to 21,730 in 2015. Border fencing has increased from 14 miles in 1990 to 651 miles today. Proponents argue that too many immigrants cross our border every year and anyone entering the U.S. from a foreign country should pass through customs and have a valid visa. Opponents of stronger border controls argue the majority of illegal entrants are Mexicans seeking temporary work and pose no threat to national security.  See public opinion

Should local law enforcement be allowed to detain illegal immigrants for minor crimes and transfer them to federal immigration authorities? Learn more?

On October 7, 2013 California Governor Jerry Brown signed a state bill prohibiting law-enforcement officials from detaining an individual on the basis of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold after that person becomes eligible for release, unless he or she has been charged with or convicted of certain crimes, including violent felonies.  See public opinion

Should working illegal immigrants be given temporary amnesty? Learn more?

Amnesty is an act by passed by the federal government which grants immunity from immigration laws to undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. Various levels of criteria have been proposed for immigrants to be granted amnesty including proof of employment and willingness to pay taxes.  See public opinion

Should immigrants be required to pass a citizenship test to demonstrate a basic understanding of our country’s language, history, and government? Learn more?

The American Civics test is an examination that all immigrants must pass to gain U.S. citizenship. The test asks 10 randomly selected questions which cover U.S. history, the constitution and government. In 2015 Arizona became the first state to require High School students to pass the test before they graduate.  See public opinion

Should the US increase or decrease the amount of temporary work visas given to high-skilled immigrant workers? Learn more?

Skilled temporary work visas are usually given to foreign scientists, engineers, programmers, architects, executives, and other positions or fields where demand outpaces supply. Most businesses argue that hiring skilled foreign workers allows them to competitively fill positions which are in high demand. Opponents argue that skilled immigrants decrease middle class wages and job tenure.  See public opinion

Where do you side on domestic policy issues?

Should more felons convicted of non-violent crimes be eligible for parole? learn more about Proposition 57

Proposition 57 will allow people convicted of nonviolent crimes to be eligible for parole consideration if they have exhibited good behavior. The proposition will save the California Department of Corrections tens of millions of dollars annually.  See public opinion

Should California keep the death penalty? learn more about Proposition 66

Proposition 66 keep the death penalty in place and will speed up executions through a series of procedural adjustments that we suspect would have little to no effect. It opposes Proposition 62 which is also on the California ballot in 2016 and seeks to ban the death penalty.  See public opinion

Should California enact stricter gun control measures including banning large capacity ammunition magazines? learn more about Proposition 63

Proposition 63 would enact stricter gun control measures including requiring federal background checks to purchase ammunition, banning the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and prohibiting people who have been convicted of stealing a firearm from possessing firearms. Proponents include Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, the City of L.A. and the City of San Francisco. Opponents include the California Republican Party and the NRA.  See public opinion

Should California repeal the death penalty? learn more about Proposition 62

Proposition 62 repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. It applies retroactively to inmates who are on death row. Proponents include Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome and former President Jimmy Carter. Opponents include the California Republican Party and former Governor Pete Wilson. Proposition 66 is also on the California state ballot in 2016 and it seeks to keep the death penalty in place. Whichever proposition receives the most votes will pass.  See public opinion

Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun? Learn more?

The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings caused several states and cities to pass strict gun control measures. In response, state lawmakers in gun friendly states in the South and West passed bills that would strengthen Stand Your Ground laws and allow weapons in most public places. In 2014, 21 states passed laws that expanded the rights of gun owners allowing them to possess firearms in churches, bars, schools and college campuses. The federal government has not passed any gun control measures since the 1994 Brady Bill and 42 states now allow the possession of assault rifles. In the U.S. two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides and in 2010 there were 19,000 firearm suicides and 11,000 firearm homicides.  See public opinion

Do you support affirmative action programs? Learn more?

Affirmative action is a policy that encourages the increased representation of members of a minority group. In the U.S. these policies are often enacted by employers and educational institutions in education or employment.  See public opinion

Are you in favor of decriminalizing drug use? Learn more?

In 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act which banned the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain drugs. The act ranked drugs by their potential for abuse and placed them into five categories. Two of the most widely used drugs in the U.S., wine and alcohol, are exempt from the classifications. Ballot measures in several states including Colorado, Washington and Oregon have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. These laws apply only within the respective states and have no effect on Federal law.  See public opinion

Should local police increase surveillance and patrol of Muslim neighborhoods? Learn more?

After the March 22nd terrorist attacks in Belgium, Republican U.S. Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz said law enforcement should be empowered to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” In defending the plan, Cruz cited former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his aggressive policing efforts, including the alleged targeting of Muslim neighborhoods for surveillance. Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton held a press conference where they criticized Cruz’s proposal as “incendiary” and “foolish.”  See public opinion

Should it be illegal to burn the American flag? Learn more?

In 2006, the U.S. Senate rejected a Constitutional Amendment which would have allowed Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the burning or desecration of the U.S. flag. The Flag Protection Act of 2005 was introduced by Senators Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Mark Pryor (D-ARK) and Thomas Carper (D-Del). The Act proposed a punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $100,000.  See public opinion

Should there be term limits set for members of Congress? Learn more?

A term limit is a law that limits the amount of time a political representative may hold an elected office. In the U.S. the office of the President is restricted to two four year terms. There are currently no term limits for Congressional terms but various states and cities have enacted term limits for their elected officials at the local level.  See public opinion

Should victims of gun violence be allowed to sue firearms dealers and manufacturers? Learn more?

In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The law protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. The law was passed in response to a series of lawsuits filed against the gun industry in the late 1990s which claimed gun-makers and sellers were not doing enough to prevent crimes committed with their products. Proponents of the law argue that lawsuits will discourage gun manufacturers from supplying stores who sell guns that end up being used in violent crimes. Opponents argue that gun manufacturers are not responsible for random acts of violence committed with their products.  See public opinion

Should people on the “no-fly list” be banned from purchasing guns and ammunition? Learn more?

After the December shooting in San Bernardino, CA, President Obama stated in his weekly radio address that it was “insane” to allow suspected terrorists on the country’s no-fly list to purchase guns. Shortly after, Senate Democrats introduced a measure that would have restricted anyone on the federal terrorism watch list, also known as the no-fly list, from being able to purchase firearms in the U.S. The measure did not pass after Senate Republicans voted down the measure.  See public opinion

Should the NSA (National Security Agency) be allowed to collect basic metadata of citizen’s phone calls such as numbers, timestamps, and call durations? Learn more?

Under a provision of the Patriot Act the NSA is allowed to collect phone metadata — the numbers, time stamps, and duration of a call, but not its actual content. Opponents include civil liberties advocates and Senator Rand Paul who argue that the collection is unconstitutional since it is done without a warrant. Supporters of the collection argue that the collection is necessary to track suspected terrorists.  See public opinion

Should corporations and unions (Super PACs) be allowed to donate to political candidates? Learn more?

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures from a nonprofit corporation. The plaintiff in the case, Citizen’s United, was a conservative political action group which wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton during television broadcasts. In 2010 the airing of the ad was outlawed by the McCain Feingold Act which banned radio and TV advertising by corporations and unions within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion struck down these provisions and ruled that corporations, as associations of individuals, therefore have speech rights under the First Amendment.  See public opinion

Do you support the Patriot Act? Learn more?

In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act expanded intelligence gathering capabilities including: monitoring of foreign financial transactions, detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism, wiretaps, business record searches, and surveillance of individuals suspected of terrorist activities.  Learn more  or  See public opinion

Should the redrawing of Congressional districts be controlled by an independent, non-partisan commission? Learn more?

Currently, the redistricting of congressional boundaries is controlled by state legislature every ten years. Gerrymandering is the redrawing of districts with the intent of benefiting a political party. It is most often implemented by state political parties with the intent of marginalizing districts of voters who represent the minority party. To gain extra seats, the incumbent party will redraw voting districts so that voters of the minority party will be grouped into smaller districts with less seats. Critics of gerrymandering say these practices allow incumbent representatives to choose their voters instead of voters choosing them. Proponents say that drawing districts is a privilege of the ruling party and have little effect on the popularity of their policies or candidates.  See public opinion

Should the government raise the retirement age for Social Security? Learn more?

Former Florida Governor Bush recently told CBS News that the current basic retirement age of 65 needs to go to 68 or 70 as a way to sustain Social Security for those now under 40. The Social Security retirement age is based on a sliding scale which takes into account when the recipient was born and whether they want to retire early in return for a reduction in monthly benefits. The current age to begin receiving benefits is set at 65 for those born prior to 1938. Under current law, it rises gradually to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Proponents argue that Americans are living longer and healthier lives than they did when Social Security was founded and the program will run $7.7 trillion in the red during the next 75 years. Opponents argue that Social Security provides at least half of total retirement income for more than two-thirds of all retirees and raising the age will rob lower income seniors of necessary benefits.  See public opinion

Should the government be allowed to seize private property, with reasonable compensation, for public or civic use? Learn more?

Eminent domain is the power of a state or a national government to take private property for public use. It can be legislatively delegated by state governments to municipalities, government subdivisions, or even to private persons or corporations, when they are authorized to exercise the functions of public character. Opponents, including Conservatives and Libertarians in New Hampshire, oppose giving the government the power to seize property for private projects, like casinos. Proponents, including advocates of oil pipelines and national parks, argue that the construction of roads and schools would not be possible if the government could not seize land under eminent domain.  See public opinion

Should internet service providers be allowed to speed up access to popular websites (that pay higher rates) at the expense of slowing down access to less popular websites (that pay lower rates)? Learn more?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally. Proponents of net neutrality laws argue that they balance the rights and duties of individuals, governments and corporations, while ensuring that the Internet continues to be an open and decentralized network. Opponents include internet companies who complain that the law would increase their costs and create barriers to the free flow of information.  See public opinion

Should the U.S. government grant immunity to Edward Snowden? Learn more?

Edward Snowden is a former National Security Agency contractor who turned over classified documents revealing a board global surveillance program previously unknown to anyone outside the intelligence community. After the documents were published in the Guardian Newspaper in June 2013 Snowden fled to Russia where he is currently living under asylum.  See public opinion

Should the military upgrade Air Force One? Learn more?

In 2015, the U.S. Air Force announced that it had selected Boeing to build the next generation of Air Force One aircraft. Two new aircraft will be built and will enter service in 2024. The defense department estimates that the two new planes will cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $4 billion. In December 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that costs for the project were out of control and he would cancel the plane order once he took office. Proponents of the new planes argue that the current planes used for Air Force One will be fifty years old in 2021 and spare parts for the old planes are becoming hard to find.  See public opinion

Should the government pass laws which protect whistleblowers?

Where do you side on national security issues?

Should the US assassinate suspected terrorists in foreign countries?

Should laptops be banned on all direct flights departing from the Middle East? Learn more?

In March 2017, the U.S. government notified nine airlines that operate direct flights from the Middle East and Africa that personal electronics larger than cellphones would be banned on all direct flights entering the U.S. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security stated that the ban would affect 10 airports that it determined did not have adequate baggage security screening in place. The ban requires passengers to put all electronics larger than cell phones including laptops, cameras and e-readers in checked luggage. Passengers will still be able to fly with the items if they are stowed in their carry on luggage. Opponents argue that the ban discriminates against Muslim airline passengers and could pave the way for future restrictions against them. Proponents, including Democrats and Republicans in Congress, argue that the ban only affects 10 airports and will encourage them to expand screening of all checked baggage.  See public opinion

Where do you side on criminal issues?

Should convicted felons have the right to vote? Learn more?

In April 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order which restored voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons living in the state. The order overturned the state’s practice of felony disenfranchisement, which excludes people from voting who have been convicted of a criminal defense. The 14th amendment of the United States prohibits citizens from voting who have participated in a “rebellion, or other crime” but allows states to determine which crimes qualify for voter disenfranchisement. In the U.S. approximately 5.8 million people are ineligible to vote due to voter disenfranchisement and only two states, Maine and Vermont, have no restrictions on allowing felons to vote. Opponents of felon voting rights argue that a citizen forfeits their rights to vote when they are convicted of a felony. Proponents argue that the arcane law disenfranchises millions of Americans from participating in democracy and has an adverse affect on poor communities.  See public opinion

Should police officers be required to wear body cameras? Learn more?

In the wake of the lethal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri a petition has been launched to have the White House look into requiring all police officers in the country to wear body cameras. The petition has now exceeded 128,000 signatures, the Obama Administration said it will respond to petitions that exceed 100,000.  See public opinion

Should prisons ban the use of solitary confinement for juveniles? Learn more?

In January 2016, President Obama issued a series of executive actions banning federal prisons from using solitary confinement to punish juveniles and prisoners who commit low level infractions. His orders also lowered the number of days an adult inmate could be subject to solitary confinement from 365 days to 60 days. A recent study found that prisoners who were subject to solitary confinement were 20-25% more likely to be repeat criminal offenders than prisoners who avoided it.  See public opinion

Should non-violent prisoners be released from jail in order to reduce overcrowding?

Where do you side on education issues?

Should the English only requirement be removed from bi-lingual education? learn more about Proposition 58

Proposition 58 repeals Proposition 277 which was passed in 1998. Proposition 277 required Limited English Proficient (LEP) students to become proficient in English. Proposition 58 allows school districts to establish dual-language immersion programs for both native and non-native English speakers. It also allows parents of students to select an available language acquisition program that best suits their child. Proponents argue that it will encourage public schools to teach students more than one language. Opponents argue that it will cause more students to graduate from public schools with poor English.  See public opinion

Should the state issue $9 billion in bonds for K-12 schools? learn more about Proposition 51

Proposition 51 will enable the state to issue $9 billion in bonds to fund the improvement and construction of K-12 schools in California. Allocations include $3 billion to the construction of new schools, $2 billion to new community colleges and $500 million will to charter schools. Proponents including Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome argue that the bonds are necessary to fund the state's decaying educational infrastructure. Opponents, including Governor Jerry Brown, argue that it will put the state further into debt and not allocate resources evenly amongst poor and rich school districts.  See public opinion

Do you support increasing taxes for the rich in order to reduce interest rates for student loans? Learn more?

Last Spring the U.S. Senate defeated The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act by a vote of 58-38. The act, proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would lower the interest rate on existing student loans from 7% to 3.86%. The act would be financed by levying a mandatory income tax of 30% on everyone who earns between $1 Million and $2 Million dollars per year. Proponents argue that current student loan interest rates are nearly double normal interest rates and should be lowered to provide relief for millions of low-income borrowers. Opponents argue that the borrowers agreed to pay the interest rates when they took out the loans and taxing the rich would hurt the economy.  See public opinion

Do you support Common Core national standards? Learn more?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative that details what K-12 students should know in English and Math at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and seeks to establish consistent education standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. Learn more  or  See public opinion

Where do you side on healthcare issues?

Should there be a limit on the prices MediCal pays for prescription drugs? learn more about Proposition 61

California Proposition 61 requires state agencies to pay the same prices that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) pays for prescription drugs. A 2005 report indicated that the USDVA paid 20% less for prescription drugs than the California State Government does through MediCal. Proponents including the AIDS Health Foundation and Bernie Sanders argue that Medical is currently getting ripped off by Pharma companies. Opponents including the major Pharmaceutical Companies argue that capping costs will restrict patient's access to life-saving drugs.  See public opinion

Should private hospitals pay a tax to fund MediCal? learn more about Proposition 52

Proposition 52 would make a temporary tax levied on private hospitals since 2009 permanent. In 2009 the state Legislature imposed a tax on private hospitals to fund the state's MediCal shortfall. Proponents argue that the tax goes right back into the hospitals in the form of MediCal reimbursements and helps the state's budget because the funds are matched by the federal government. In 2015 the tax raised $4 billion from private hospitals and a matching $4 billion from Washington. Proposition 52 would guarantee that the Medi-Cal funds raised by the hospital tax are spent reimbursing hospitals, not attending to any of Medi-Cal's many other needs. Opponents, including the SEIU, argue that it hurts private hospitals and their employees.  See public opinion

Should the tax on cigarettes be raised by $2 a pack? learn more about Proposition 56

Proposition 56 will increase cigarette taxes by $2.00 per pack. Other products containing nicotine including electronic cigarettes and tobacco products will also incur a similar tax. The tax will raise an additional net state revenue of $1 billion to $1.4 billion in 2017-18, with potentially lower revenues in future years. Revenues would be used primarily to augment spending on health care for low-income Californians.  See public opinion

Should condoms be required during the filming of pornographic films? learn more about Proposition 60

Proposition 60 will require actors to wear condoms in all adult films shot in California. The proposition also requires production companies to obtain health permits and cover the costs of treating and preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Proponents, including the AIDS healthcare foundation, argue that the law will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted and hold adult film production companies accountable for health hazards. Opponents, including the California Democratic Party and the AIDS Project L.A., argue that the proposition would violate worker privacy.  See public opinion

Should California legalize marijuana? learn more about Proposition 64

Proposition 64 will legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by adults over the age of 21. Marijuana sold under the act would be subject to a 15% sales tax which would be distributed to teen drug prevention programs and law enforcement training. Proponents of the proposition include the California Democratic Primary, the ACLU of California and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome. Opponents of the proposition include Purdue Pharma (the manufacturer or OxyContin,) Abbot Laboratories (maker of the opiod Vicodi) and their Super PAC Project SAM (founded by Kevin Sabet, David Frum and Patrick Kennedy).  See public opinion

Do you support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? Learn more?

The Affordable Care Act is a federal statute signed into law in 2010 that introduces a sweeping overhaul of the nation's healthcare system. The act grants the federal government significant regulatory powers and price controls over U.S. medical service providers and insurance companies.  See public opinion

Do you support the legalization of Marijuana? Learn more?

U.S. law currently bans the sale and possession of all forms of marijuana. in 2014 Colorado and Washington will become the first states to legalize and regulate marijuana contrary to federal laws.  See public opinion

Should the government regulate the prices of life-saving drugs? Learn more?

In September of 2016, US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released a proposal that would create an oversight panel that would protect U.S. consumers from large price hikes on long-available, lifesaving drugs. The proposal was in response to recent steep price increases on drugs including the AIDS drug Daraprim and the EpiPen. Proponents of drug price regulation argue that drug makers raise prices to benefit the value of their stock and invest little of their profits in the development and research of new drugs. Opponents of regulation argue that consumers rely on drug companies to develop new drugs and limiting prices will prevent new lifesaving drugs from being developed. Clinton's campaign cited Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC's raising the price of its AIDS drug Daraprim (pyrimethamine) and Mylan NV’s repeated steep price increases on EpiPen for severe allergy sufferers as “troubling” examples of price hikes that have attracted bipartisan congressional scrutiny.  See public opinion

Should the federal government increase funding of health care for low income individuals (Medicaid)? Learn more?

When the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was enacted in 2010 it required all states to expand their Medicaid programs to include people with incomes slightly higher than those allowed under traditional Medicaid, as well as groups, like childless adults, that had not previously been covered. In 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that forcing States to expand their Medicaid coverage was unconstitutional. Since then 22 states have expanded their coverage and more than 35 have opted not to do so. Proponents of the expansion argue that it will lower healthcare costs for everyone by reducing the number of Americans without health insurance. Opponents argue that states should be allowed to run their own Medicaid programs without the intervention of the federal government.  See public opinion

Should there be more or less privatization of veterans’ healthcare?

Should the federal government be allowed to negotiate drug prices for Medicare? Learn more?

The government is currently prohibited by law from negotiating drug prices for Medicare. Medicare Part D is a federal government program which subsidizes the costs of prescriptions drugs for people enrolled in Medicare. Since it was approved by Congress in 2003 39 million Americans have enrolled in the program which now costs more than $80 billion per year. Opponents of Medicare Part D argue that it should be changed to allow the federal government to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. They point out that the Veterans Affairs administration is allowed to negotiate prices and pays 40-58% less for drugs than Medicare does. Analysts estimate that the government would save up to $16 billion a year if they were permitted to negotiate drug prices. Proponents of Medicare D argue that the government should not interfere with prices set by private drug makers who use profits for the development and research of new drugs.  See public opinion

Should health insurers be allowed to deny coverage to individuals who have a pre-existing condition? Learn more?

In February 2017, Congressional Republicans issued a proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The proposed plan would use tax credits to finance individual insurance purchases and cut federal payments to states which have been used to expand Medicaid. Conservatives who oppose the ACA argue that the plan did not go f