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.


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.


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


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. Continue Reading


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!”