All eight initiatives on the California special election ballot failed, including four reform proposals that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) put to voters after the Democrat-controlled Legislature failed to act on them. Schwarzenegger's loss could threaten his re-election chances in 2006. The crown jewel of the governor's reform package would have imposed strong new limits on state spending to head off the state's chronic budget shortfalls. Schwarzenegger faced a barrage of attacks from the state's public employee unions, whose powers would have been limited by two of the ballot proposals.
- Spending cap (62.1 percent voted no) - would have amended California's Constitution to hold state spending to the previous year's level plus a growth factor
- State employees - Both backed by Schwarzenegger, one (53.5 percent voted no) would have limited state employee unions' use of membership dues for political purposes; the other (55.1 percent voted no) would have made it harder for teachers to gain tenure
- Redistricting - (59.5 percent voted no) would have empowered a panel of three retired judges—rather than the Legislature—to draw state legislative and congressional district maps.
- Prescription drugs - Two competing measures would have pushed drug makers to offer discounts for residents who struggle with the costs of prescriptions: one (58.5 percent voted no) backed by the drug companies and another (61.1 percent voted no) by consumer groups.
- Abortion (52.6 percent voted no) - proposed a constitutional requirement that a physician notify the parents of a minor seeking an abortion.
- Utility regulation (65.7 percent voted no) - Unions and consumer advocates pushed this measure, which would have allowed greater regulation of electric service providers and encouraged use of clean energy sources.