The nation's harshest three strikes law has been reformed to allow for shorter sentences for some offenders.
Proposition 36 passed 68 percent to 32 percent Tuesday with 26 percent of precincts reporting. An offender's third felony conviction now must be a serious or violent crime to mandate an automatic sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Previously, any felony conviction — even for a relatively minor offense — triggered the automatic sentence for an offender with two previous felony convictions for serious or violent crimes.
Opponents argued the law needed no alteration and was meant to punish California's habitual offenders.
Supporters argue the state will save millions a year by cutting down on the number of parole hearings and shortening long prison sentences.
As word spread that the TV networks had called the presidential election for the incumbent, drivers along Crenshaw Boulevard began honking their horns and shouting from their car windows.
One woman, Flora Stewart, stood at the corner of Crenshaw and Vernon Avenue waving a large copy of the Obama family's official White House portrait - what she called "a beautiful picture of a beautiful family.
"To become the President of the United States, not only do you need the support of your community, you need the support of your family. And I just think that what they had to sacrifice and give up for the last four years, I think it's tremendous."
Amid the celebratory noise, Stewart reflected on the significance of the president's re-election after a bitter, often negative campaign against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
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:
- Proposition 30, approved with 54 percent
- Proposition 32, defeated with 44 percent
- Proposition 34, defeated with 47 percent
- Measure J, falling just short of the two-thirds threshold with 64.7 percent
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:
8:54 p.m. Festive atmosphere at Jackie Lacey's Union Station party
Seventies funk blasted through Union Station Tuesday night as several hundred supporters of L.A. County district attorney candidate Jackie Lacey awaited her arrival.
If she wins, Lacey makes history as Los Angeles’ first female and first African-American DA.
Moments ago, the crowd cheered the news that absentee vote tallies (but no precincts reporting) show Lacey ahead with 56.5 percent of the votes to Jackson’s 43.9 percent.
— Stephanie O'Neill
8:49 p.m.: Hopeful scene at Riverside Congressional Candidate Mark Takano's HQ
Supporters of 41st Congressional District Democratic candidate Mark Takano are crowding into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall in Riverside to watch election results and, they hope, celebrate their candidate’s victory.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama (L) and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finish their debate at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, October 3, 2012.
8:55 p.m. (AP) — President Barack Obama has been re-elected to a second term, defeating Republican Mitt Romney in a hard-fought race in which the economy was the dominant issue.
Voters decided to give Obama another four years of stewardship over an economy that is slowly recovering from the recession.
Obama captured battleground states including Ohio, Iowa and Colorado on his way to the 270 electoral votes he needed.
Romney unsuccessfully campaigned on the theme that his business background gave him the experience needed to guide the nation out of tough economic times.
Obama will again be dealing with a divided Congress. Democrats maintained control of the Senate and Republicans likely will again control the House. Among the most pressing matters is the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to hit in January. Economists have warned that if they aren't averted, the nation could face another recession.