Elect Justice CA was formed in the wake of the unprecedented mass demonstrations for criminal justice reform to help voters, no matter their views, channel the energy in the streets to the ballot box.
Our mission is to educate and empower California voters to make informed decisions this November about local candidates who have the power to directly impact the criminal justice system (e.g. District Attorneys, Judges, Sheriffs, Mayors and City Council Members). Too often these races don’t receive the attention they deserve.
Mayors and City Councils
You may not see all of the Elect Justice candidates on your ballot depending on where you live and when each position was last up for election.
Sheriffs and district attorneys come up for election every four years. Most counties hold elections for these positions in midterm elections. That means they are up for election in the same year as the governor. If these positions are not on your ballot this year, you will likely see them on your ballot in 2022.
CA appeals court judges and Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor and confirmed by a government commission. In the next election after the judge’s confirmation, voters decide whether to keep the judge in office. Voters then decide whether to keep CA appeals court judges and Supreme Court justices in office every 12 years.
Superior court judges come up for election every six years.
Term length for city council members and mayors depends on each city and town. Not all towns have city councils or mayors. For example, people who live in unincorporated parts of a county can vote for a county supervisor who has responsibilities similar to a city council member.
There are 12 state ballot measures on the November ballot, 3 of which are directly related to criminal justice issues:
- Prop 17 restores the right to vote upon completion of prison terms.
- Prop 20 would undo parts of the crime laws passed by lawmakers and voters over the past 10 years like Propositions 47, 57, and AB 109, which were aimed at Criminal Justice reform.
- Prop 25 is a veto referendum, which if passed, would eliminate the cash bail system and replace it with a risk assessments system. If Prop 25 does not pass, California would keep its current bail system.
There may also be other measures on your ballot that deal with local issues at the county, city, district, or regional level.
The deadline to get a ballot measure on the November 3, 2020 ballot was June 25. You may have heard about some potential ballot measures that did not meet that deadline and are not on the November ballot. However, those measures could still be on the ballot in 2022.
Elect Justice CA is a nonpartisan campaign designed to educate and empower California voters to make informed decisions this November about local candidates who have the power to directly impact the criminal justice system (e.g. Sheriffs, District Attorneys, Judges and Mayors/City Councils). Elect Justice CA provides unbiased information about the candidates running for these positions, and the power of these offices.
Elect Justice CA is a nonpartisan voter guide supported by a coalition of organizations interested in criminal justice reform. The coalition includes Live Free, Represent Justice, NextGen Policy, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Initiate Justice and League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.
Yes, Elect Justice CA is a nonpartisan voter guide. It does not endorse or oppose any candidates for public office. Information about candidates’ positions comes directly from their campaigns in their own words. All candidate data is sourced from Voter’s Edge, a joint project by MapLight and the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund. Elect Justice CA and Voter’s Edge do not edit any of the candidates’ positions. We provide voters the information they need to make their own decisions about who will best represent their values, and protect and serve their communities. You can learn more about how Voter’s Edge gets its data here.
Why does Elect Justice focus on local races for Sheriffs, District Attorneys, Judges and Mayors/City Council Members?
Sheriffs, District Attorneys, Judges and Mayors/City Councilmembers all play a critical role in setting and implementing criminal justice policies in your community. They make daily decisions that determine how policing and law enforcement are carried out locally. They have the power to reform the criminal justice system in your community, to make budget and funding decisions, to make policies on the use of force in policing, to hold officers accountable, to enact community support and crime prevention programs, to determine how individuals are treated in the criminal justice system, and so much more.
We use the phrases interchangeably. Criminal justice system is the more commonly used phrase to describe the institutions, officials, and laws that prevent and respond to crime. However, many organizations and people call it the criminal legal system because they believe calling it a just system is inaccurate. That’s because they see the system as historically unjust, especially for people of color and people from low-income backgrounds.
Not all towns have city councils or mayors. For example, people who live in unincorporated parts of a county can vote for a county supervisor who has responsibilities similar to a city council member.
Even if your town doesn’t have a mayor or city council, you can still vote for your county’s Sheriff, District Attorney and Superior Court Judges, as well as Appellate Judges. All of these elected officials play a major role in setting and implementing criminal justice policies.