OK, have at it in the comments, readers – just remember to keep it clean, and avoid personal attacks on each other.
Some words of inspiration for those who still haven’t cast a ballot today:
“Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.”
— Daniel Webster
“I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the past, the triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election.”
— Walt Whitman
“We preach the virtues of democracy abroad. We must practice its duties here at home. Voting is the first duty of democracy.”
— President Lyndon B. Johnson
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
— George Jean Nathan
“Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.”
— Laurence J. Peter, formulator of “the Peter Principle”
It’s Election Day – get out there and vote, if you haven’t already!
California’s polls are open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If you haven’t put your vote-by-mail ballot in the mail yet, DON’T – it won’t be counted unless it reaches the registrar’s office by 8 p.m. tonight, and postmarks don’t matter. You can drop it off by hand at any polling place in your county, or at the registrar’s office; don’t forget to sign the outside of the envelope.
If you have any questions about your ballot, your polling place or anything else having to do with this election, contact your county registrar:
Alameda County, www.acgov.org/rov, 510-267-8683
Contra Costa County, www.cocovote.us, 925-335-7800
Marin County, www.marinvotes.org, 415-473-6456
Monterey County, www.montereycountyelections.us, 831-796-1499
Napa County, www.countyofnapa.org/Elections, 707-253-4321
San Francisco, www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=599, 415-554-4375
San Joaquin County, www.sjcrov.org, 209-468-2885
San Mateo County, www.shapethefuture.org, 650-312-5222
Santa Clara County, www.sccvote.org, 408-299-8683
Santa Cruz County, www.votescount.com, 831-454-2060
Solano County, www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov, 707-784-6675
Sonoma County, vote.sonoma-county.org, 707-565-6800
To report election fraud, call the California Secretary of State Office‘s voter hotline: 800-345-8683
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.
California can proceed with its new “top-two” primary system, an East Bay judge tentatively ruled today, sustaining the state’s objection to a lawsuit filed by a group of minor parties and their voters.
In his tentative ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Appel said the arguments made in the lawsuit filed last fall are the same ones that failed to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court that Washington’s version of the law should be overturned.
A hearing on the tentative ruling is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Oakland.
The lawsuit, filed in November on behalf of the Green Party of Alameda County, the Libertarian Party of California, the Peace and Freedom Party of California and eight minor-party voters, argues Prop. 14 “effectively denies voters their fundamental right of choice by precluding small party candidates from the general election ballot,” thus violating the First and 14th amendments.
The general election is “the moment when the highest number of voters are engaged in the electoral process,” the suit says, and so the new law severely burdens voters’, candidates’ and parties’ rights without any compelling or even significant state interest.
But Appel wrote Monday that unless the plaintiffs can amend their complaint in the next few weeks to present new arguments, the system will stand.
Appel said the first part of the lawsuit seems to be a “facial challenge” to Prop. 14 – challenging the general framework – rather than an “as applied” challenge that questions some manner in which the new law is being implemented in a discriminatory or unreasonable way.
But the 9th Circuit earlier this year “considered and rejected the same broad challenge” that the plaintiffs are making in this case, the judge wrote. “Among other things, the Court held that ‘because [the law] gives major- and minor-party candidates equal access to the primary and general election ballots, it does not give the “established parties a decided advantage over any new parties struggling for existence.”’”
Arguing that participation in the general election isn’t equivalent to participation in the primary election; that general-election ballot access is essential for minor parties seeking to qualify in future elections; and that California doesn’t have sufficient regulatory interests to impose this new system “are legal assertions that are inconsistent” with the 9th Circuit’s ruling in the Washington case, Appel wrote.
And Appel wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 held that a statute like Washington’s – and now, like Prop. 14 – that allows an open primary in which candidates identify themselves on the ballot by a self-designated party preference doesn’t unconstitutionally interfere with a political party’s rights of association or speech.
Michael Siegel, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said Monday he’s disappointed that Appel deferred to a 9th Circuit ruling that the plaintiffs have argued was in error. “Big picture, this is something that needs to get sorted out at a higher level, either at the California Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court,” Siegel said.
Siegel acknowledged that even if he were to convince Appel at tomorrow’s hearing to completely reverse this tentative ruling, “nothing could be done in terms of the June election, but something could be done for November” – that is, if the court struck down the top-two system, it could let minor parties hold conventions this summer or fall to nominate candidates for addition to the general-election ballot.
But given Appel’s tentative ruling, Siegel said, “practically speaking, what’s really at stake now is 2014.”
UPDATE @ 4:06 P.M. TUESDAY: Appel heard arguments on his tentative ruling this morning and took the case under submission; he’ll probably file a permanent order – most likely along the lines of his tentative ruling – in the next few days. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 10.
“This was a humbling experience and a tremendous honor to receive the unanimous support of the board,” she said Monday. “I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead, as well as working in partnership with the CRP as we head toward victory together.”
Chris Mann, Ramirez’ campaign manager, said his camp is “disappointed that the Board of the California Republican Party voted to support a candidate we believe cannot be successful against Feinstein. Fortunately this race will be decided by the voters, not the GOP establishment.” He said Ramirez is best-positioned to appeal to Latinos and independents, which will be crucial blocs in order to beat Feinstein.
The party in the past hasn’t made primary election endorsements, but state’s new “top-two” primary system necessitated a change. In this system, all voters choose from among all candidates regardless of party, and the top two vote getters advance to November’s general election – even if they’re of the same party.
State GOP leaders met yesterday in Burbank to consider how county committees had judged races all over the state, and then voted on decisions of their own. A list of endorsements in races all over the state was released Monday morning.
“As the Party prepares to be a vigorous contender in California’s first top two primary, we seek to promote the most competitive candidates in the field this primary season,” state GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said in a news release. “As Chairman, I am very pleased with the level of thoughtful participation from around the state. It was an encouraging prelude to an invigorated Party getting ready for this important election year.”
Absent from the endorsement list was the 3rd Congressional District, where three Republicans are vying to unseat Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann has been named a “Young Gun” by the National Republican Congressional Committee, but neither she nor either of the other two Republicans in that race – Eugene Ray and Rick Tubbs – got a nod today from the state party.
Ricky Gill, another NRCC “Young Gun” in Northern California, did get the state party’s endorsement in his bid to unseat Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, in the 9th Congressional District; Republican John McDonald also is in that race.
Gill said Monday he’s “proud to have earned the endorsement of the California Republican Party and of all three county parties in the 9th Congressional District. I also know, however, that our task is just beginning, and I’ll keep working hard to ensure our Valley and Delta communities send a truly local voice to Congress in 2012.”
The party also made no endorsements in the 18th Assembly District, where Republican Rhonda Weber is running, or in the 20th District, where Republican Luis Reynoso is running. However, Mike Hudson did get the state party’s endorsement in the 11th Assembly District, and Al Philips got it in the 16th Assembly District.