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Archive for February, 2008

Super Tuesday: Clinton, McCain clean up in California

The San Jose Mercury News election blog says Hillary Clinton and John McCain have won in California.

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
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Super Tuesday: Vorderbrueggen, Huff have Election Night video

Contra Costa Times Political Editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen (i) Contra Costa Times Political Editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen (ii)

Times Political Editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen and Times staff writer Ryan Huff are writing, but each is taking a few minutes every hour or so to sit in front of a camera and sum up their thoughts. Check them out!

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
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Super Tuesday: Alameda County ballots running low

Oakland Tribune staff writer and “Give ‘Em Hill” columnist Angela Hill shot me an e-mail with word of conditions south and west of Contra Costa County:

As of late afternoon Tuesday, many polling places all over Alameda County ran short on Democratic ballots because so many non-partisan voters had requested them during the day. Staff members from the registrar’s office made numerous trips to polling places to deliver additional ballots.

“We are scrambling to deal with it,” said Guy Ashley, spokesman for the registrar’s office. “It is an issue throughout the county, not any specific area. Fortunately, no polling places have run out to the point where people have been kept waiting. But turnout is very high, and it’s been hard to predict how many extra Democratic ballots would be needed.” Otherwise, voting has been going fairly smoothly, Ashley said. “We have a team of two dozen people staffing phones to specifically answer questions from polling places,” he said. “We had the usual questions in the morning about set-up, and problems with someone not unlocking the door on time, and so on. But that’s always the case.”

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
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Super Tuesday: Huff hears Huckabee hold forth

Word of Mike Huckabee’s victory in today’s West Virginia Republican presidential caucus reminds me of a question Times staff writer Ryan Huff got to ask the former Arkansas governor during last week’s visit to San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club last week about the number of states he’ll need to win today in order to continue his campaign. (The Mercury News points to full video of Huckabee’s speech by KGO.)

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
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Super Tuesday: Weir weighs in on extra CoCo ballots

Here’s a quote from Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters Steve Weir in Times staff writers Lisa Vorderbrueggen and Robert Salonga’s story “Contra Costa County has to print more Democratic ballots”

[...] “In order for this to happen, it takes an extraordinary voter turn-out,” he said.

The shortfall is especially alarming given the relatively early hour. Typically, one-third of voters visit the polls before 4 p.m., while the bulk vote after work and into the evening.

The county supplies each of its 800-plus precincts with more than enough ballots to accommodate every registered member of each of the political parties plus the nonpartisan or decline to state voters.

“I don’t quite understand it yet,” Weir said. “I’m still trying to figure it out. There may be a targeted get-out-the-vote effort in this area or just high turnout.”

In a related development, Weir said Contra Costa pollworkers incorrectly refused to supply at least two decline to state voters with Democratic ballots. In California, only the Republican Party bars non-members from participating in its presidential primary.

“We immediately called the inspectors and later sent out rovers to re-inspect the precincts and make sure that we were providing the correct information,” Weir said. “We haven’t received any more calls, so we think we have the problem solved.” [...]

If you have any concerns about getting and filling your ballot before polls close at 8 p.m., state rules say you can always ask to cast a provisional ballot. (That’s what I did this morning.)

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
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Super Tuesday: Party on the left, party on the right?

Where will you go tonight? Times political editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen had a long list of places that East Bay Democrats and Republicans can walk in, take a load off and enjoy a little convivial company. Check it out here.

Vorderbrueggen, who blogs at Inside Politics, may not be so lucky as to get out and mingle tonight. She’s got her writing duties, so she and a bunch of other Times staff writers will be posting updates to ContraCostaTimes.com’s election page. If you get to get out tonight, raise a glass in her honor and drop her a line saying you did so.

Over at Political Blotter, Josh Richman will stay busy well into tomorrow. Today alone, Richman has posted to his popular Schwarzenegger Video of the Week category and given word of Democratic longshot Mike Gravel’s evening plans (He’ll be in Berkeley where, as you know, nothing controversial ever happens).

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

Super Tuesday: Times bloggers, staff weigh in

I rounded the newsroom around lunchtime to see who was in and what they were up to. Days like today, you get all kinds of oddities: staggered or split schedules, assignments to hang out at far-flung polling places and so on.

I saw Times Book Club Diva and blogger Lynn Carey at her desk, upright and working despite her sniffles and a recent trip to Illinois. Carey, who plans to post later at Between the Covers, said she was planning to vote later this evening because she knew she would probably run into friends then and “it’ll turn into a gabfest.”

I saw Times columnist and blogger Tony Hicks working on an e-mail and  proudly sporting his “I voted” sticker. Hicks, who blogs at Insert Foot, said he thinks he’ll stay up well into the evening to watch the results on cable news. He’s one of those types that’s wired a certain way, so that election days and disaster events send the adrenaline surging through him. “Days like today, I miss working the (metro) desk,” he said.

I walked over to the newest part of the newsroom, recently renovated to accommodate some features folks. Dino Ray Ramos, who blogs on fashion and celebrity at Dressed, was planning on an afternoon polling-place blitz before heading home to pack for the second half of Fashion Week in New York City.

Gary Bogue, the Times’ pets and animal columnist, was just walking away from his new spot in the newsroom. Bogue said his wife got up to vote early. When he goes to his polling place this afternoon, he said he hopes to be able to gauge turnout, which may exceed 60 percent statewide.

Jennifer Modenessi, who posts to the East Bay art blog Seen, shared some of her thoughts in an e-mail.

“Hi George,

“I just remembered that on my way to the Berkeley Art Museum this morning, traffic on 680/24 was pretty thick. I know it was probably just normal morning commute traffic (although it was past 9 a.m.) but traffic slowed to a drip in two places … underneath the last freeway overpass in Walnut Creek before you get into Lafayette and again underneath the first overpass in Lafayette. People waving Obama ’08″ signs both times.

“I was running late so instead of saying ‘Yay!!!!’ I thought ‘Grrrrrr!’

“The only other political placard I saw (causing no traffic slowdown) was above a bore of the Caldecott Tunnel … ‘Vote Ron Paul.’”

Times public safety writer Scott Marshall, who hit the Contra Costa County Precinct 387 polling place at Willow Creek community center in Concord around 11 a.m., overheard a poll worker:

“By 8 o’clock tonight, we’ll have this system down.”

Opinion page writer Michelle Fry wrote in:

People are excited. I think that’s really cool and hasn’t happened a lot in my 6 presidential elections. An older white woman leaving a polling place in Concord said to me, “This is so exciting, isn’t it?” Another person said “Change! It’s in the air!”

Also, interestingly, a couple of people who had their absentee ballots came into the polling place with them. They hadn’t actually mailed them in. I was only there for 5 minutes and 2 people had that issue. Does that happen often?

Um? Guilty.

Vicki Walker, who lives in San Joaquin County and works at the InsideBayArea.com news desk in Pleasanton, dropped me a brief line:

We were the ONLY voters at the Great Valley School precinct at 12:30 p.m. Shameful! I thought everyone was supposed to be coming out for Obama.

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

Super Tuesday: Clinton on KTVU, local blogs

Because I was out voting earlier today, I didn’t get to watch KTVU’s “Mornings on 2″ show, which had Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talking to host Ross McGowan. Fortunately SFist was watching. And now you can too!

In local blogging, Halfway to Concord is conducting a poll asking readers to vote for their favorite presidential candidate. Be sure to vote in it before it ends (very) early Friday.

The estimable Mayor of Claycord won’t be watching CNN today. To tell you why would be to spoil it. Go read him!

And I almost forgot that Times staff columnist and editorial writer Daniel Borenstein ran into me in the parking lot this morning. Borenstein said he’d heard there were a big clump of Ron Paul signs out in San Ramon. If you see that clump, take a picture and send it my way, won’t you?

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

Super Tuesday: Obama on KFOG, candidate bloopers

Times features writer and Aparently Speaking blogger Ann Tatko mentioned that she’d heard Barack Obama on the KFOG Morning Show, so I went over and found the MP3 clip they posted.

Hosts asked him about his gains in the state polls in recent weeks, his initial decision to run, the reaction in the African-American community to his candidacy, last night’s Grateful Dead member reunion on his behalf at the Warfield in San Francisco (rebroadcast at iclips.net at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. today), the Will.i.am and Jesse Dylan “Yes We Can” video, his decision to quit smoking and more. Give it a listen! (MP3)

And Times staff writer Ryan Huff noticed this CBS News video collecting some campaign-trail bloopers and “lighter” moments. It’s quick and silly and it’ll take your mind off your troubles.

Heck, it might even help you remember that there are human beings running, not just walking-and-talking collections of stances on the issues.

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Under: George Kelly | No Comments »

Super Tuesday: I saw the sign

Shiny vote sign

Today’s the day for East Bay residents to head to the polls, so that’s just what I did in Oakland before heading into the office in Walnut Creek this morning. For me, things are a little more complicated than for most voters: I’m (a) an absentee voter who (b) is registered decline-to-state and who (c) moved recently. I figured it made sense to go cast a provisional ballot at the polling place near my new address. I’ll have to wait 28 days and call a local or toll-free number to know whether or not it was counted, but that’s better than not voting at all.

After I voted this morning, I got onto Interstate 580 and took it to Highway 24, shot through the Caldecott Tunnel and got off at the Ygnacio Valley Road exit. I saw three overpasses (two in Oakland and one on the Curtola overpass in Lafayette) with people on them holding signs for Barack Obama, and one overpass (in Orinda) with a giant Ron Paul sign but no people beside it. I wish I could’ve taken pictures of them, but I can’t drive and shoot at the same time.

If you see those signs (or, heck, any other interesting election-day signs), please post pictures of them to the Times’ My Town photo albums. Another fun thing, if you have the time and a video camera, might be to post to the Times’ Your Cartoons and Video Commentary album.

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Under: George Kelly | 2 Comments »