Wake Up Sacramento!

 The MAJORITY of voters who participate in elections in California do so by MAIL. The evidence continues to grow.  

In Picture 013the June 2 Redwood City Elementary School District Election, 68% of the voters voted by mail. In the May 19 Consolidated Special Statewide Election, 64.8% of the voters voted by mail.

In California, 64.5% of the voters cast their ballot by mail in the May 19th special election.

It’s time for change. Registrars should be given the flexibility to conduct elections by mail if their local Board of Supervisors approves the approach.

San Mateo County would save about 30% in election costs. And elections are costly to conduct. At a time when the state is slashing programs, shutting parks and according to the Controller, will be out of money by July 29, this idea is a no-brainer.

Let counties save real money by choosing opting to conduct elections by mail – as long as the locals support it.

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5 responses to “Wake Up Sacramento!

  1. Vote by mail is certainly appealing from an individual voters point of view.

    But there are serious election integrity issues.
    If you are an advocate for it shouldn’t you at least acknowledge and discuss these?

    Some issues (off the top of my head):
    * chain of custody of ballots and votes is more complicated because the postal system is involved
    * anyone involved in the delivery of mail can attack the election by ‘losing’ votes from areas known to tend to vote in certain ways.
    * the secret ballot is sacrificed which can lead to vote buying and coercion.

  2. More on this from a site I am not affiliated with and just found today:
    http://novbm.wordpress.com/why-not-vbm/

  3. I think there is something to be said to go to the polls on election day. I like showing up and voting, I don’t have to rely on the mail to “lose” my ballot and it makes me feel good to just go to the polls on election day. While elections are costly to run all mail elections won’t actually increase turnout which is the only reason it should be done in the first place. It shouldn’t matter how much an election costs it should matter on the security and integrity of that election.

    I had a Vote by Mail ballot for an election in 2008, because I work the polls and I would not have the time on my break to go to my polling place (worked in Foster City, lived in Redwood City) I got a Vote by Mail ballot, I filled it out, sent it back in and it turns out the ballot never made it to the elections office. Why I am not sure but from that day forward I decided I didn’t want to worry that my vote would not be counted and would go to the polls on election day.

    • First, let me say thank you, Joseph, for working at the polls. You’re one of the VIPs in our book. I have many friends who like to vote at the polls, but 64% of the voters in the state are voting with postage stamps…not their feet. And in election parlance, that’s a majority.

      And about your lost ballot, I would say this…At least people in California, you can check online to make sure that your ballot is received. And if it’s not, you can do something about it–before Election Day (unless of course you’re working on Election Day at the polls). There is new legislation wending its way through the Legislature (without opposition) that will make it possible for any voter who votes by mail to go online – 30 days after that election – to find out if their ballot was counted, and if it wasn’t, why it wasn’t.

      To quote Warren Slocum, “no election methodolgy is perfect, they all have their flaws.”

      And the cost…well, money is in short supply and the Elections Office is not exempt from the cuts…

  4. 1) Costs could be cut significantly by holding fewer elections.

    One election per year would cost less, result in higher turnout, and make it harder to manipulate special elections with selective get-out-the-vote efforts.

    E.g. the greedy San Carlos School District was able to use a low-turnout all-mail election in May to pass a parcel tax which was rejected only 6 months earlier at the general election, in which a more representative slice of voters participated. (78% more San Carlans participated in the general election.)

    Note that a single general election would save governments the cost of holding the special elections, AND save taxpayers the cost of special taxes pushed through by special interests at special elections.

    2) All election methodologies have their flaws, but conducting elections both at the polls and at the mailbox doubles the number of flaws, and significantly increases the cost.

    3) I think vote-by-mail is a terrible terrible mistake; subjecting every ballot to the maximum opportunity for every kind of electioneering, fraud, vote selling, etc..

    But, given that California has already opened that can of worms, I have registered as a permanent absentee.

    Mr. Slocum, my registration as a permanent absentee does NOT signify that I think vote-by-mail is a good idea. Citing the number of votes cast this way does not show voter approval for the concept any more than crowded freeways show driver approval for long commutes.

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