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Live blog: Updates, results on Prop 30 and other California initiatives

David Besbris, left, a member of SAG-AFTRA, Steve Flint, and Ellen McCrea, members of IATSA Local 600, canvass a Pasadena neighborhood during election day on Tuesday
David Besbris, left, a member of SAG-AFTRA, Steve Flint, and Ellen McCrea, members of IATSA Local 600, canvass a Pasadena neighborhood during election day on Tuesday
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
David Besbris, left, a member of SAG-AFTRA, Steve Flint, and Ellen McCrea, members of IATSA Local 600, canvass a Pasadena neighborhood during election day on Tuesday
A vote-counting machine and voting stickers.
Grant Slater/KPCC

8:19 a.m.: Prop 34, the initiative that would have replaced the death penalty with life without parole in California, failed by almost 6 points. The vote marked the first time in decades that the voting public has been asked to consider the efficacy and ethics of capital punishment. More here.

Wednesday, 8:07 a.m.:  The party at Dodger Stadium Tuesday evening included the campaigns of Yes on Prop 30, No on Prop 32, Yes on Prop 34 and Yes on Measure J.

This morning, here’s how those measures were turning out with 98 percent of the votes counted:

9:44 p.m.: Wow. There are a lot of you out there watching these updates. So many, in fact, that the site is reeling. If you're having problems seeing updates, you can always move over to our live map of California prop and election results: 

9:31 p.m.  Maria Elena Durazo on Props 32 and 30: "We'll just see as the results come in, but we had over 1,600 volunteers, four days over since Saturday, and so we worked really, really hard. We know that once the voters knew what these two propositions were all about, they were absolutely on our side."

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti is here for the Yes on Prop 34 campaign. The president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Pat McOsker, is also here. I've also spotted a lot of staffers from City Hall.

There's a ton of people here now and the bar is packed. It's shoulder-to-shoulder in the Stadium Club. Not to complain, but for some reasons everyone thinks that my workstation is a great place to leave their empty glasses. See the KPCC mic flag, people? Not cool.

—Alice Walton

9:07 p.m.: Prop 36, which would change the state's 3 strikes law, ahead in early returns

Proposition 36, which would reduce the number of "third strike" convictions, has split California's law enforcement community.

The measure was ahead in early returns immediately after polls closed on Tuesday.

If passed, the initiative would modify the state's Three Strikes law for repeat felons by requiring the third conviction to be for a serious or violent crime to warrant a mandatory 25-years-to-life prison sentence. As it stands, a person convicted of a felony, regardless of the type of crime, can be sentenced to the maximum penalty if the two previous convictions were serious or violent.

Supporters of the initiative say reforming the penalty will save the state money and help relieve California's overcrowded prisons. They say the reforms are more equitable and prevent criminals from serving unfairly long prison sentences for relatively minor crimes.

They argue that reducing the number of criminals sentenced under three strikes will save the state at least $100 million a year because of fewer parole hearings and earlier release dates. Prop 36 would double the maximum sentence of the crime for a third-time offender.

About 2,800 inmates now serving 25 years to life could have their sentences reduced if Proposition 36 passes.

That concerns opponents, who argue that the country's strictest Three Strikes law is on the books for a good reason - to lock up the state's most violent repeat offenders. They say no changes are necessary.

"The current Three Strikes law has directly and significantly acted to reduce crime in California," the California District Attorneys Association wrote in a position paper opposing the initiative. "The Three Strikes law is a valuable, essential, and proven tool in the fight against crime."

Opponents have been vastly outspent by supporters, who raised nearly $3 million. They are led by billionaire George Soros, who donated $1 million, and Stanford University lecturer and lawyer David Mills, who contributed $953,000 and helped write Proposition 36. Several police union have contributed to the opposition.

Supporters have used the money to air statewide television ads featuring Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, all of whom back the initiative.

"The state should not allow the misallocation of limited penal resources by having life prison sentences for those who do not pose a serious criminal threat to society," Cooley said. "The punishment should fit the crime."

— AP

Update 8:55 pm: Results are trickling in on the props

For up to the minute results visit our results page. It's a tight race on Prop. 30 right now, but no votes are leading statewide with 13% of precincts reporting -- 52% no and a little over 47% yes. In L.A. it's a bit narrower with about a 50-50 split.

Update 8:00 pm: Polls close; Props go to a count 

The polls have just closed here in California, so we decided to take time to chat with former school board member David Tokofsky about the education measures on the ballot. He’s been closely watching the Prop. 30 and Prop. 38 race.

But first a quick refresher -- 

Prop. 30, which was written into the enacted 2012-13 California budget, would increase income tax   on higher earners for seven years and raise sales tax by 1/4 of a penny for four years. Prop. 38 was the other education measure on the ballot that would increase taxes on nearly all earners making more than roughly $7,300 for 12 years. Only one measure can pass. If both do, the one with more votes will go into effect.

Tokofksy weighed in on these two measures and what he sees happening next. First, thing’s first — he voted “yes” on both Prop. 30 and 38.

“I think I let go of my anger at the ugly ads that were out from [the Prop. 38 campaign],” Tokofsky said. “...When adults are trying to help kids, I’d rather we’re not having a fight outside the school yard.”

Tokofsky said he thinks Prop. 30 has a chance of passing, which is better than his thoughts on the matter earlier this week .

“There was a tremendous effort in the last days that hopefully will push it over the top,” Tokofsky said. He said some of the recent ads finally addressed a lot of the misinformation floating around about the proposition and let people know that teachers do support it.

“There isn’t a teacher from Oregon to Mexico who doesn’t realize how important [Prop. 30] is,” he said, “whether they’re charter, small district, big district, rural, urban or inner city. This measure 30 is very crucial. If it comes up short, if it’s above 45%, if it gets to 49.9% or somewhere in that range, 

 I still think it’s a victory given all the convolutions with Prop. 38. And I think a newly elected Legislature that will occur today cannot read [that] as a loss. There will be pressure for them to solve it legislatively.”

Update 7:50 pm: Dems chowing down at Dodger Stadium

KPCC's Alice Walton reports that Democrats at Dodger Stadium are munching on popcorn provided by the FOX 11 cameraman. 

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is here, in support of Propositions 32 and 36.  I asked him why he was at labor’s big party and he told me, “I’m a big supporter of union labor and the right for everyone to have a voice in the political process.”

On the subject of Prop 36, which would amend the Three Strikes Law, Trutanich said, “I don’t think we can afford just to start putting people in jail for minor offenses for 25 years to life. It’s not right.”

The chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Eric Bauman, was making the rounds and doing media interviews early on in the night. He told me, “It’s feeling like a really good night for Democrats.”

Update 7:20 pm: Los Angeles County Democrats will be spending election night at the Stadium Club in Dodger Club.

Supporters from the Yes on Prop 30, No on Prop 32, Yes on Prop 34 and Yes on Measure J campaigns are expected to arrive about 8:30 p.m. Included among those folks will be the L.A. County Federation of Labor’s Maria Elena Durazo and Eric Bauman, chair of the county’s Democratic Party. 

A little before 7 p.m., the Stadium Club was packed with television, radio and college reporters setting up their equipment. Above the windows overlooking the baseball field, more than a dozen flat screen televisions were tuned to local and cable news, all of which were showing election results from the East Coast and Midwest.

A small stage was set up in the middle of the club, with red, white and blue balloons posted on each side.

No signs of food yet, but the bartenders were setting out vodka, gin, bourbon and wine for the partygoers.

Update 7:00 pm: Californians have a lot riding on the success or failure of California's 10 statewide propositions. At stake: the future of California's education system, as well as the continued existence of the state's death penalty, how producers label their food, how out-of-state businesses are taxed, and the way that its controversial "3 strikes" law is enforced. 

Stay with us throughout the night as we bring you updates on how well these props play. We'll be giving you a breakdown of how each proposition is doing on a county-by-county basis (here's a sneak peek!), as our reporters weigh in on what their passage or failure means to you. 

Post your questions in the comments below or tweet us @kpcc and we'll do our best to get them answered. 

Meanwhile, if you're looking to bone up on which is which: