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Following the money and the races with Times voter guide

October 2, 2012 | 11:05 am

More than $200 million already has gone to the 11 propositions on the November ballot in California, including competing budget proposals from Gov. Jerry Brown and civil-rights attorney Molly Munger, a proposal to end to the death penalty, and labeling for genetically modified foods.

The Times today is releasing an A-Z guide on the measures, available for desktop, tablet and smartphones at latimes.com/voterguide. The guide's searchable database lets voters explore who is contributing and breaks down where in the nation the money is coming from. In addition, The Times'  op-ed staff has provided straightforward descriptions of what each measure would do if approved, bypassing the often impenetrable official descriptions.

This guide has been optimized for smartphones, making it easy to take it with you into the voting booth.

With the election only four weeks away, large corporations, individuals, labor unions, and others are ramping up their efforts to get voters' attention. These groups, and many others on both sides of each proposition, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, phone banks, mailers, door-to-door canvassing and more to influence how Californians will vote.

Unions including the California Teachers Assn. and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have spent tens of millions to oppose Proposition 32, a measure that would (among other things) limit labor unions' ability to use their dues for political purposes. With a roughly $46-million war chest, the campaign to defeat Proposition 32 is one of the most well-funded.

Large agriculture companies including Monsanto, E.I. Dupont, Dow Agrosciences and Bayer Cropscience have donated more than $30 million to defeat Proposition 37, a measure that would require labeling for genetically modified foods. Many grocery store staples and household names have also donated to defeat the measure, including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Hershey, Ocean Spray, Kellogg, Dole, Kraft and others.

At 12:30 p.m., The Times' Anthony Pesce will hold a Google + Hangout to discuss the voter guide and how to use it.

More: Explore The Times' California proposition guide


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-- Anthony Pesce