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Archive for the '2008 November election' Category

Contra Costa fires pollworker for ‘creating false impression’

Cintra Costa County Registrar of Voters Steve Weir has relieved an unnamed polling place inspector of her duties in Discovery Bay today for “creating a false impression about how voting will take place.”

Weir said she provided false information to the California Republican Party and Assemblyman Guy Houston’s office about the number of ballots she was provided in the precinct where she was assigned in Discovery Bay.

Weir said the worker told the GOP that she was given too few ballots to handle the voters in her precinct. That is incorrect, he said.

The precinct has 931 registered voters, of which 455 are permanent vote-by-mail voters who have already received ballots, Weir said.

The county delivered 500 official ballot to this precinct, Weir said, which accommodates 100 percent of the precinct’s registered voters who do not vote by mail plus a few extras to cover people who have spoiled their mail-in ballot and wish to obtain a new one.

Under this scenario, it seems unlikely that a precinct could run out of ballots. But in high turnout elections, unregistered voters often turn up at the polling place. Pollworkers will not deny anyone the right to vote; those individuals cast what are called “provisional” ballots, which means they are counted only if the voter turns out to be registered but is not on the official rolls for one reason or another.

Under the county’s emergency plan, if a precinct runs out of ballots, voters fill out a sample ballot. (This Discovery Bay precinct has 50 sample ballots on hand for this purpose.)

The sample ballot results are transferred by hand to an official ballot at the election office and scanned into the tally. It sounds scary but the Secretary of State’s office has approve it as part of the county’s emergency plan, Weir said.

The county also has extra official ballots on hand that could be delivered to any precinct that runs out and it could print more official ballots if necessary, Weir said.

Posted on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

Bill Clinton called my house

So did actor Charlie Sheen. And U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. And Sen. Tom Torlakson.

My phone rang all weekend, in fact, with those annoying pre-recorded phone messages called robocalls.

Yes, robocalls are illegal in California. But campaigns get around the law by originating the calls outside of California and the jurisdiction of the state Public Utilities Commission.

If you are curious about who is getting these calls and where, the National Do Not Contact Registry has created an interesting Google map site. You can also enter a call made to your house into the map through Twitter by clicking here.

Posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, 2008 presidential election | No Comments »

Follow trail of campaign memoriabilia

Contra Costa Times photojournalist Karl Mondon produced these fabulous videos on campaign memorabilia. You’ll see some of Martinez veteran collector Tim Farley’s stash, too.

Check them out.

Posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, 2008 presidential election | No Comments »

Voter turn-out already huge

I stopped at the Contra Costa County election office this morning in downtown Martinez to pick up campaign finance reports. Geeminy. It was nuts.

It was even crazier on Sunday — 900 people came downtown Martinez on a Sunday to vote.

“Never, never, never in my career have I seen anything like this,” said Registrar of Voters Steve Weir on his way through the office.

As of Monday afternoon, Weir reported that 35 percent of registered voters had already voted. That’s about the same percentage that voted in the entire June primary election.

Just wait until tomorrow.

Posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 1 Comment »

Door-hangers contain wrong polling location

Campaign brochures placed on the doors of an unknown number of homes in Brentwood over the weekend contained inaccurate information about polling place locations.

The Contra Costa Election Department urged voters to refer to their sample ballots for accurate polling place locations. Voter may also call 925-335-7800 for information.

The door-hanger asks voters to say yes to Proposition 8, which would declare marriage to be a union of man and a woman.

But it also listed the voter’s precinct location, which was inaccurate in several and probably more instances, said Deputy Registar of Voters Candy Lopez. It’s unclear how many door-hangers were placed in Brentwood or elsewhere.

Posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

CAMPAIGN TRAIL 2008: McNerney vs. Andal

Dean Andal

Dean Andal

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton

As part of our coverage of the high-profile contest between Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and his Republican challenger Dean Andal of Stockton, I spent a day on the campaign trail with each candidate.

The full story runs Sunday, Nov. 1, 2008, in the Contra Costa Times.

But I also took some video clips while out on the trail, which you will find below.

The first four were take on Oct. 25 with McNerney, followed by five clips from my day with Andal on Oct. 28. (You can also go to YouTube and enter “cctwebteam” to see all the videos from the Contra Costa Times.)

OCT. 25, 2008: Jerry McNerney

OCT. 28, 2008: Dean Andal

Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, Congress, congressional district 11 | No Comments »

Record number of Californians register to vote

This just came out from the Secretary of State: A record number of Californians — 17.3 million — have registered to vote.

Decline to state voters continue to expand their share of the electorate while Democrats posted a 1.4 percentage point gain since 2004. Republicans lost ground as the party’s share declined 3.3 percentage points in the same time period.

Here is Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s press release:

SACRAMENTO – More than one million Californians have registered to vote since September 5, catapulting the state’s total number of registered voters to an all-time high of more than 17.3 million.  That’s according to Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s final report of registration for the November 4 General Election, which was released today.

“It’s great to see so many Californians taking an active role in their democracy,” said Secretary Bowen, California’s chief elections officer.  “Voter interest in this historic election is enormous and I expect to see a record number of Californians cast ballots on Tuesday. Thanks to everyone – including community groups, elections workers, campaigns, schools, and businesses – who helped register so many new California voters.”

The final report includes data gathered through the October 20 close of registration for the general election.  It reflects updates to voter rolls, including the removal of registrants who have passed away, moved out of the state, or have been determined to be ineligible to vote, as well as the addition of new registrants.

The state now has 17,304,091 million registered voters – almost 747,000 more than it had at this time before the general election four years ago.  The percentage of people who are eligible to vote and are registered is 74.6% now; it was 75% just before the 2004 general election.

The previous voter registration record in California was 16.6 million in February 2005.

Registration has been climbing all year, with more than 1.7 million new voters registering since January.

Following are the registration totals for the six qualified political parties and voters who have declined to state their political affiliation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2008
Under: 2008 November election | No Comments »

Bad, bad frog featured in East Bay Parks campaign brochure

An astute reader points out that you would not want to find in East Bay streams the frog pictured in the lovely colored fold-out brochure promoting Measure WW, the East Bay Regional Park District’s $250 million bond measure.

Times animal columnist Gary Bogue confirms the photo is indeed of an African clawed frog, a non-native species that threatens indigenous frogs and small fish.

It’s a definite pest in California creeks, streams and ponds, Bogue says. He called it the “Frog from Hell.”

“You used to be able to buy them in pet stores back in the 1960s, then lots got released in local streams and away they went,” Bogue said. (Click here to read about the frog on Wikipedia.)

You can no longer buy these frogs in California but a batch of them still live in a lake in Golden Gate Park despite pleas to eradicate them.

East Bay Regional Parks, of course, has strict policies against the introduction of non-native species into its parks.

The Measure WW brochure picture was very likely an innocent mistake by a graphic designer who used  stock frog photo, said East Bay Regional Park District Trustee Doug Siden of Alameda.

What? Not everyone knows the difference between an African clawed frog and a California red-legged frog?


Measure WW campaign consultant John Whitehurst takes responsibility for the “Frog from Hell” picture and promises he will take an amphibian identification class right after the election.

“I’m guilty, I confess,” he said. “Hey, I wanted to send a message to voters that if Measure WW doesn’t pass, the parks will croak!”

Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

Dogs and their humans unite for Obama in Richmond

Metro Dog co-owner Diane Livoti with Bark for Barack poster (Photo by Kristopher Skinner/Contra Costa Times)

Metro Dog co-owner Diane Livoti with "Bark for Barack" poster (Photo by Kristopher Skinner/Contra Costa Times)

Your pooch cannot vote for president. Not legally, anyway.

But the humans at Metro Dog, a Richmond doggie daycare and boarding center also known as “Disneyland for Dogs,” found a way to get out the bark for Barack Obama.

Get it? “Get out the bark!” instead of “Get out the vote!”

Okay, it’s a stinky joke.

But this is a really cool poster.

Emily Jan of Timbuktu Designs styled the vivid artwork titled “Bark for Barack” after an early 1900s Alexander Rodchenko Russian literacy poster.

The poster features a regal greyhound, which probably wasn’t Metro Dog regular and Burmese Mountain Dog Tomas’ first choice. (His human, after all, coined the phrase “Bark for Barack” for the poster.)

Pet lovers are displaying it all over the East Bay, including the Oakland Zoo.

Bark for Barack poster

"Bark for Barack" poster

Hundreds of copies of the image have been downloaded from all over the nation at their web site,

Metro Dog co-owners Diane Livoti and Alison Smith have raised more than $2,000 for Obama’s campaign through sales of the poster although they long ago exhausted their one and only order of 500 prints.

The only place to obtain it now is a download from their web site, where they ask for a $5 campaign donation in return for use of the image.

In the interest of fairness, I asked Livoti to arrange a paw-wow with the Republican pups in her fine establishment.

Surely, there must be some toothy growling over this flagrant bias against their candidate John McCain?


There are no Republican dogs here.

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, 2008 presidential election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | No Comments »

Get Alameda County election results on your cell

Before long, election officials will beam results directly into implants embedded into our foreheads.

In the meantime, sign up for Alameda County’s email blast service of the results of a select group of races to your cell phone. Click here to sign up.

Races include Alameda County results for: President, Pleasanton Mayor, Berkeley Mayor, Oakland City Council at Large, Berkeley City Council District 4, San Leandro City Council District 2 and Measure V V.

If it works well, Registrar Dave Macdonald says he will expand the service in future elections.

For those who are counting, the score in the East Bay contest to possess the most high-tech election gadgets in the East Bay is:

Contra Costa County: 1

Alameda County: 2.

Both counties launched GIS-based mapping results in the last election but Alameda County is the first to send emails to your Blackberry.

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, 2008 presidential election, Alameda County, Contra Costa County | No Comments »