Nov. 2, 10:51pm
2,027 more votes have been counted, with the votes in favor of passing Measure A continuing to hold a significant margin over the votes opposing it.
The measure would increase the portion of money collected from the city’s cannabis tax that goes to children’s programs from 12.5% to 20%. The remaining percentage of funds currently goes to the city’s General Fund, which funds public services and departments.
Originally, Measure A was going to run alongside a half-cent sales tax increase that would have generated an estimated $6 million each year for the city. But Santa Cruz City Council member Sandy Brown blocked the ballot measure at a council meeting earlier this year, citing the city’s reluctance to give its underpaid low-level employees needed raises.
Bringing this measure to the voters is estimated to cost the city between $141,804 to $177,255, based on figures from the County Elections Department.
The latest results have 8,659 votes approving the measure, and 1,824 votes opposing it. According to Santa Cruz County’s election department website, all mail-in ballots have been processed, leaving 26,904 votes still to be counted. The next update will be Friday, Nov. 5.
In elections around the country, Republicans are leading in races. Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin declared his victory in Virginia’s governor’s race, while incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is facing tight competition against GOP candidate Jack Ciattarelli in New Jersey. But, projections have Democrats winning mayoral races in Detroit and Seattle. Incumbent Mike Duggan of Detroit is projected to be reelected, and Bruce Harrell in Seattle is expected to be the next mayor.
Nov. 2, 10pm
Votes are still being counted, but early results had Measure A, which would increase cannabis tax monies going to youth programs in the city of Santa Cruz and create a permanent Children’s Fund, headed toward approval.
Cheers erupted at the measure’s watch party at West End Tap Room, as the initial results were called out by Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers just after polls closed at 8pm Tuesday. Santa Cruz City Council Members Martine Watkins, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Renee Golder, all of whom co-sponsored the measure, embraced upon hearing the results.
So far, 6,994 votes have been counted in favor of the measure, and 1,462 votes have been counted against the measure. That’s 22% of the total votes cast: 28,937 votes remain to be counted. However, given the strong trend favoring the measure, it’s expected that it will pass.
Watkins said she was thrilled Santa Cruz voters saw the value in supporting future generations.
“Thanks to the Santa Cruz voters for showing up. We’re the first in California [to form a Children’s Fund], and we hope other communities will follow suit,” said Watkins.
While other cities in California have similar children’s funds, Santa Cruz would be the first to have a voter-approved fund that collects a portion of the cannabis tax revenue.
“It’s our responsibility to our youth, and as a city, that’s what we have to do—invest in our kids,” said Mayor Donna Meyers.
In total, 37,402 votes were cast in this special election. Measure A was the only measure on the ballot. That’s compared to the 146,857 Santa Cruz County voters, or 86% of the total registered voters, who turned out for the primary election. It’s typical for special local elections to have lower voter turnout, as they generally get less attention and involve less campaigning.
Across California, there are 19 local ballot measures that voters will weigh in on during this election. Nationally, the country watches as Virginia votes for its new governor, with Terry McAuliffe (D) facing off against Glenn Youngkin (R). Glenn Youngkin has the lead, with 51% of the votes.