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2010 California Proposition 16

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Proposition 16 in the California state elections, June 2010, was an initiative that would have amended the state constitution to require two-thirds supermajority voter approval before local governments could use public funds or issue bonds to establish or expand public electricity service or community choice aggregation. The proposition was rejected by an approximate 5 point margin.

Supporters of the proposition dubbed it the "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act". Campaign materials, including statewide network television advertisements, cited a $2.5 billion cost for proposed new public electricity projects, and said that voters should have the final say on how public funds are spent.[1] According to the campaign committee's official financial disclosures, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company contributed $44.1 million of the committee's $44.2 million total receipts.[2]

Opponents included municipal power agencies, which were prohibited by law from campaigning against it.[1] Opponents cited a June 2008 study that found that customers of public electricity providers paid lower rates than customers of private utilities. The opposing campaign was outspent 500 to 1, and was conducted largely over the Internet and at local civic events.[3]


Electoral results by county

The election was marked by low overall voter turnout, with a stronger turnout from Republican voters, due to several high-profile Republican primary contests on the same ballot, and few Democratic primary contests.[3] The California Republican Party endorsed Proposition 16,[4] while the California Democratic Party,[5] Green Party of California,[6] and Peace and Freedom Party[7] opposed it, and the Libertarian Party of California took no position.[8]

After the election, a wider, 16 point margin of defeat was noted in the northern and central California counties served by Pacific Gas & Electric,[1] while other counties supported the proposition.[3]

Proposition 16[9]
Choice Votes %
Referendum failed No 2,820,135 52.75
Yes 2,526,544 47.25
Valid votes 5,346,679 94.55
Invalid or blank votes 308,134 5.45
Total votes 5,654,813 100.00
Registered voters/turnout 16,977,031 33.31


  1. ^ a b c Hull, Dana (June 9, 2010). "Public anger at PG&E helped sink Prop. 16". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "California Secretary of State - CalAccess - Campaign Finance". Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Marc Lifsher and Dianne Klein (June 9, 2010). "PG&E's customers vote down Prop. 16". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  4. ^ "Official Republican Voter Guide". Archived from the original on June 17, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  5. ^ "California Democratic Party 2010 State Convention Results — June Primary Positions" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 1, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  6. ^ Green Party of California (March 10, 2010). "Party Positions on Propositions". Archived from the original on May 18, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  7. ^ "Peace and Freedom Party Campaign 2010". Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  8. ^ "LPC Proposition Recommendations -- June 2010". Archived from the original on June 14, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "June 8, 2010, Primary Election Statement of Vote" (PDF). California Secretary of State. 2010-07-16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-08-21.