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Elections 2012 — Data visualizations tracking the money behind California ballot measures

By Anna Li | 25 Oct 2012

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This is the first of a two-part Peninsula Press series featuring data visualizations that map the money behind California’s statewide ballot measures. UPDATE: Click here to view Part 2 of series.

Hear more about this project and how it developed on the Peninsula Report radio podcast.

This is the first of a two-part Peninsula Press series featuring data visualizations that map the money behind California’s statewide ballot measures. UPDATE: Click here to view Part 2 of series. The interactive graphics (see below) are based on data from the California Secretary of State, showing financial contributions to committees that support or oppose a given measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. The information came from donor names and addresses; it was joined with a complete list of U.S. zip codes to allow for a geographical look at where the contributors are based. Below are directions for how to navigate the two graphics, as well as summaries of the ballot measures.

How to navigate the map above:

  • The color of a state corresponds with the amount of money that donors from there have contributed in support of or opposition to California ballot measures. Consult the color legend on the right sidebar.
  • Toggle between the 11 ballot measures by clicking the button next to each name on the right sidebar.
  • To zoom in and out, hover your mouse over the top left corner of the visualization. A zoom menu will appear. Click + to zoom in. Click – to zoom out. Click the square with the + and then draw a square on the map to zoom in on a specific area.
  • Hover your mouse over a state to find more information.
  • To move the map, click and hold your mouse button, then drag the map in the direction you want to see.

How to navigate the map above:

  • The size of the dots corresponds to the size of donations.
  • Toggle between the 11 ballot measures by clicking the button next to each name on the right sidebar.
  • To zoom in and out, hover your mouse over the top left corner of the visualization. A zoom menu will appear. Click + to zoom in. Click – to zoom out. Click the square with the + and then draw a square on the map to zoom in on a specific area.
  • Hover your mouse over a state to find more information.
  • To move the map, click and hold your mouse button, then drag the map in the direction you want to see.

Data analysis and visualizations by Anna Li and text by Riva Gold. Special thanks to Gauthier Vasseur for database and data visualization expertise. The ballot measures are:

  • Proposition 30 (Education and Safety Fund) would temporarily increase sales tax and personal income tax for upper-income taxpayers to fund state programs.
  • Proposition 31 (State Budget) would authorize and fund local government services, prevent the state Legislature from passing certain bills, grant the governor more power to cut state spending during fiscal emergencies, and create a two-year budget cycle.
  • Proposition 32 (Political Contributions by Payroll Deductions) would ban unions and certain corporations from making direct donations to political candidates and ballot campaigns. It would also prohibit government contractors from funding elected officials who give them contracts, and ban the use of payroll deductions for political purposes. Super PACs would be exempt.
  • Proposition 33 (Auto Insurance) would allow insurance companies to determine rates based on a driver’s auto insurance history, unless past lapses are under 90 days or are a result of military service or unemployment.
  • Proposition 34 (Death Penalty) would overturn the death penalty in California and allocate $100 million to be paid to local law enforcement agencies over the next four years.
  • Proposition 35 (Human Trafficking) would increase penalties for human trafficking, expand the definition of human trafficking to include the distribution of child pornography, grant local law enforcement officials the power to monitor the Internet activities of sex offenders, and ban the use of a victim’s sexual history as court evidence.
  • Proposition 36 (Three Strikes) would amend the three strikes law so that life sentences are only imposed if the most recent crime committed is serious or violent, with a few exceptions.
  • Proposition 37 (Genetically Engineered Food Labeling) would require labelling of foods prepared with genetically modified plant and animal materials (see bill for exemptions) and prohibit such foods from being labelled “natural.”
  • Proposition 38 (Early Education Tax) would raise personal income taxes to fund education, child care and state debt payments.
  • Proposition 39 (Business Tax for Energy Projects) would ask multistate businesses to determine their taxes based on their sales in California and dedicate $550 million per year (for five years) to fund alternative energy proposals
  • (Proposition 40) (Redistricting Referendum) would keep State Senate districts in accordance with the plans of the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

 

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