The "yes" side of the vote has maintained a steady lead of 25,000 or more votes throughout the period of March 6-14, though it was sometimes closer. The more than 3.6 million votes counted after election day have come in at a rate of 50.08% "yes," gradually adding to the "yes" side's slender lead. 

The final result will be painfully close. But a reversal of the outcome to a "no" vote would require final tallies that are mathematically highly improbable. 

Californians Against Prop. 1 issued this statement March 12:

We almost took down the bear, but it looks like we will fall short. Today, as the principal opponents of Proposition 1, we concede that it is almost certain to pass.

The vote on Prop. 1 was closer than it had to be, because Prop. 1 itself is much worse than it had to be.

We tried hard to get the word out about the damage this measure will cause. It does not just ‘reform’ the mental health system, it reduces funding for mental health services by redirecting $1 billion per year.

Prop. 1 could be a humanitarian disaster if it is not well managed. The incredibly narrow approval of Prop. 1 is the voters saying ‘do not let that happen.’

We know that many people who voted ‘yes’ on Prop. 1 thought they were doing a good thing. Before the vote, we found it easy to show people how Prop. 1 would actually hurt people, and that changed votes.

But you have to talk to millions of people in California to influence an election. Our grassroots campaign was hard-pressed to compete with $20 million on the ‘yes’ side, a campaign so overconfident and overstuffed with cash that they ran a Super Bowl ad.

Still, we almost won. Our message and our truth were that powerful.

Our campaign was all-volunteer and people-powered. Much of its energy came from women, people of color and people with lived experience with mental health issues. People who had benefited from current Mental Health Services Act programs were the best-positioned to warn Californians about the dangers of Prop. 1.

We confronted obstacles within our community, where people are absolutely tired of needing to fight to gain respect, autonomy, and protection. A wave of hopelessness has washed over too many in our community, as the governor and legislators increasingly view us as a problem to be swept away, not a proud group of survivors and advocates who deserve to be heard and included. Truly, if just a few more people had understood that we could defeat Prop. 1, we would have done so with their extra effort.

A movement toward coercive treatment is being fed by Prop. 1. This disturbing trend expresses both a frustration about mental illness in our society and a gradual ‘othering’ of people who experience it. We fear for the future when our leaders figure out that forced treatment is both expensive and largely ineffective. How will they tighten the screws later?

What’s next is a long process of implementation of Prop. 1. Many battles await us in local governments, as the Prop. 1 knives come out and counties need to plan out their cuts.

Some Prop. 1 supporters promoted the fantasy that cuts won’t be needed, that MHSA programs can just tap different insurance and funding streams to stay alive. Now it’s time that you all show how that’s going to work. Otherwise we really will live to see the nightmare of dismantling the locally rooted prevention, early intervention and innovative support services that we have today for people with mental illness.

The fight over Prop. 1’s passage is over. The battle ahead is to protect what we have, and to regain the dignity that all people facing mental illness deserve.

We’re not leaving that fight.



Thank you for your support and for all of your efforts to get the word out and help defeat Prop. 1!