More CC supervisor mailers, these pro-Andersen

Voters have plenty of campaign mailers to peruse this election, especially in the highly competitive District 2 Contra Costa supervisor fight between Danville Mayor Candace Andersen and Contra Costa Community College board President Tomi Van de Brooke.

Yesterday, I posted mailers put out by independent expenditure committees who support Van de Brooke. Below, you’ll see a pro-Andersen mailer paid for by the Deputy Sheriffs Association PAC and one from her campaign.

Solar energy professor Sean White of Lafayette is also running, but he has no mailers. It takes money to send out mail and White has refused to take campaign contributions on the grounds that the process corrupts politicians.






New voter #s: Registration up, parties down

I certainly hope all of you vote in next Tuesday’s election – all 17,153,699 of you.

That’s the total number of California’s registered voters, up by more than a million from this time four years ago, according to the new report issued Friday by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Partisanship continues to decline: The percentage of voters registered with a qualified political party decreased from 79.7 percent to 77.7 percent, while those with no party preference continued to tick upward from 19.4 percent to 21.3 percent over the past four years.

But perhaps there’s some good news for civic engagement: The percentage of registered voters compared to the number of people eligible to register has increased from 70 percent to 72.3 percent over the past four years.

Friday’s report reflects data gathered after registration closed May 21 for the June 5 primary, with updates to voter rolls in all 58 counties including removal of registrants who have died, moved out of state, or been determined to be ineligible to vote.

bowen.gif“If you are one of the millions of people registered to vote in the state, find your polling place on Tuesday and prove those pessimistic prognosticators wrong by driving up voter turnout for this important primary,” Bowen said in a news release.

“If you have a vote-by-mail ballot and still have not mailed it, remember that every single ballot must be turned in to county elections officials by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day and postmarks don’t count,” she said. “At this point, be safe and hand-deliver your vote-by-mail ballot to your county elections office or any polling place in the county in which you are registered.”

Polls are open on Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; some county elections offices will be open over the weekend for early voting.

The Democratic Party saw its numbers decrease just a bit from 43.75 percent to 43.39 percent of all registered voters from May 2008 to now; the Republican Party saw a more pronounced decrease, from 32.53 percent to 30.24 percent.

Among the state’s minor parties, the Libertarian Party gained a tiny bit of ground, going from 0.49 percent to 0.55 percent, as did the American Independent Party, which went from 2.06 percent to 2.53 percent. The Peace and Freedom Party held rock-steady at 0.35 percent, and the Green Party declined a bit from 0.75 percent to 0.65 percent.

State law requires statewide voter registration data updates 154, 60 and 15 days before each primary election, and 60 and 15 days before each general election. An “off-year” update is released in February of years with no regularly scheduled statewide election.


Labor and abortion rights advocates play in CoCo District 2 supervisor race

Labor and abortion rights activists have poured nearly $50,000 into the intense county supervisor race between Contra Costa Community College Board President Tomi Van de Brooke and Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

Funded by two independent expenditure committees, robocalls and mailers remind voters leading up to Tuesday’s election that Van de Brooke is the abortion-rights option while Andersen, a conservative Mormon, calls abortion a social issue irrelevant to the job of a county supervisor.

Whether or not a candidate’s positions on social issues do, or should, matter in a local nonpartisan race has been a combustible thread throughout the campaign.

Read full story here.   See mailers below.





Counties deal with military/overseas voting snafu

Eleven California counties including Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco didn’t meet a federal law’s deadline for sending out vote-by-mail ballots to military families and other Americans living abroad, federal and state officials announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Justice simultaneously announced a lawsuit and a settlement agreement Tuesday to remedy the situation under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) for this June 5 primary vote.

“We know that we made a mistake, and we have scrambled to correct it before being told to do so,” Contra Costa County Registrar Steve Weir said Tuesday, acknowledging that his office sent ballots out late to 1,496 military and overseas voters – well over half of his county’s 2,450 total such voters, and about 18 percent of the 8,249 ballots that went out late statewide. “We are working to make this right.”

The long and short of it: In San Mateo, San Francisco and two other counties, officials must email all affected UOCAVA voters for whom the county offices have email addresses to notify them that if they have not yet received their ballots, they may choose to receive their ballots for the June 5 election by fax or email, instead of by postal mail; advise them of the option for returning a voted ballot by fax; and offer the option to return the ballot by express delivery at the county government’s expense. If the county has no email address for a voter, the county elections official must contact the voter by fax or telephone if that contact information is on file.

Weir in Contra Costa County and his peers in six other counties had already set about e-mailing affected voters and/or sending them out a second ballot by express delivery. For any they didn’t already reach, they’ll have to abide by the same conditions described above.

The UOCAVA requires that the state send absentee ballots to thousands of California’s eligible military and overseas voters at least 45 days before the election date. But that’s a task that ultimately falls to each of the 58 counties’ voter registrars, and despite Secretary of State Debra Bowen issuing four memos and holding a conference call with the registrars since November, 11 counties didn’t meet the deadline.

Weir said Contra Costa County had been part of a 13-county pilot program to use e-mail as the main method of sending ballots to military and overseas voters. But when that project fell through, the county used e-mail to send those voters their ballots anyway even though most of them had asked to get them by fax or mail, he said: “This was clearly a management mistake on our part.”

“Once we knew of our mistake, we moved very quickly to send a second ballot, in the manner that the voter had requested,” he said. “I think the stats on returns indicate that we have gotten to those voters.”

Weir said his county’s UOCAVA voters are 44.5 percent Democrat, compared to 49 percent countywide; 16.9 percent Republican, compared to 25 percent countywide; and 36.5 percent no-party-preference, compared to 21 percent countywide.

Bowen’s office reported today that of the 8,249 ballots transmitted after the 45-day deadline, most went out within two days after the deadline; only 41 military and overseas ballots were transmitted after April 27.

“Members of our armed forces, their families and overseas citizens are entitled to a complete and meaningful opportunity to vote, and the Justice Department is committed to seeking full access to the ballot box for all voters – regardless of where they are on Election Day,” Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a news release today. “The California Secretary of State worked cooperatively with the department and agreed to implement measures that will ensure California’s military and overseas voters will have the opportunity to fully participate in June’s primary election and future federal elections.”

Today’s deal, which needs an OK from a federal judge in Sacramento, also commits Bowen’s office to closely monitor and certify California counties’ transmission of UOCAVA ballots, conduct training of county election officials before the 2012 general election, give aid to its counties when necessary, and report back to the United States about its UOCAVA compliance for the 2012 federal general election and the 2014 federal election cycle. It also requires the California Secretary of State to investigate why these ballots went out late and then take whatever action is necessary to prevent future violations; Bowen will provide status reports to the Justice Department on those efforts.


Git up off yer duff and register to vote

This Monday, May 21, is the last day to register to vote in the June 5 primary election.

To be eligible to register, a person must be a U.S. Citizen; at least 18 years old on Election Day; not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction; and not deemed by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and to vote. Also, registered voters must re-register whenever they have moved to a new address, changed their name, or want to change political party affiliation.

Voter registration cards are available at county elections offices (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz); U.S. Post Offices; and the Department of Motor Vehicles, or online from the Secretary of State’s office. They must be signed and submitted in person or by mail; a mailed registration card postmarked Monday will satisfy the deadline.

There is one exception to the deadline: Under new state law, people who obtain their U.S. citizenship after today can register and vote right up until the polls close on June 5.


CoCo supervisor forum to air May 7 and 9

An election forum featuring two candidates for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will air on public access television on May 7 and May 9.

The Contra Costa Council sponsored the lunchtime debate with candidates Tomi Van de Brooke, president of the Contra Costa Community College District Board of Trustees, and Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

The pair answered questions earlier today in Lafayette about a wide range of topics including pension reform, water policy, tax initiatives and county budget trade-offs. And they sparred over campaign finances and whether positions on social issues matter in the local, nonpartisan race.

The third candidate, solar technology professor Sean White of Lafayette, was out of town on business and could not attend.

Held in Lafayette, the debate will air at 8 p.m. on May 7 and 10 a.m. on May 9 on Contra Costa Television. For Comcast customers, CCTV is on Channel 27; Astound, Channel 32; and AT&T U-verse, Channel 99.

For information, visit www.contracostatv.org.