We’re trying a new feature for Election Day that lets people call in and leave a voice message with their thoughts. We’re presenting the audio mp3s on our Bay Area web sites, including ContraCostaTimes.com, InsideBayArea.com and MercuryNews.com.
So — How has this election changed the country? How has it affected you?
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is urging television networks to reign in their presidential predictions until polls close here on the West Coast, lest an early call sap California voters’ will to cast ballots in today’s final hours:
This Election Day marks a historic moment in our nation’s history. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and voter turnout in precincts across the country is expected to set records.
In California alone, we expect a record 13.6 million voters to cast their ballots. These voters will cast ballots for President, for local offices, for state Assembly and Senate, and for Congress. And they will decide critical ballot measures that will determine the future direction of California for years to come.
These include Proposition 1A, the high-speed rail bond; Proposition 3, to renovate and expand children’s hospitals; Proposition 5, which would divert tens of thousands of drug offenders from prisons and jails; and Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage in California.
However, today’s morning papers carried stories indicating that the television networks may release their predictions of the Presidential Election outcome before polls close on the West Coast. This would be a disservice to the tens of millions of voters in the West, and I strongly urge the networks to delay any precipitous announcements until voters have had their full opportunity to vote.
It’s critical that all California voters have a say in all of these contests, including the ballot measures and contests for down-ballot offices. I strongly urge California voters to cast ballots today, regardless of any news on the Presidential Election that may come out before the polls close.
Not sure where your polling place is? For Alameda County, check here; for Contra Costa County, check here.
When you get there, know your rights:
You have the right to cast a provisional ballot if your name is not listed on the voting rolls.
You have the right to cast a ballot if you are present and in line at the polling place prior to the close of the polls.
You have the right to cast a secret ballot free from intimidation.
You have the right to receive a new ballot if, prior to casting your ballot, you believe you made a mistake.
You have the right to receive assistance in casting your ballot, if you are unable to vote without assistance.
You have the right to return a completed vote-by-mail ballot to any precinct in the county.
You have the right to election materials in another language, if there are sufficient residents in your precinct to warrant production.
You have the right to ask questions about election procedures and observe the election process; the precinct board and elections officials at your polling place should answer those questions or direct you to the appropriate official, so long as persistent questioning doesn’t disrupt the execution of their duties.
You have the right to report the denial of any of these rights, or any illegal or fraudulent activity, to a local elections official or to the Secretary of State’s Office, at 1-800-345-VOTE (8683).
In most cases, voters are not required to show identification before they cast a ballot. If you are voting for the first time after registering by mail and did not provide your driver license number, California identification number, or the last four digits of your social security number on the registration card, you may be asked to show a form of identification when you go to the polls. Make sure you bring identification with you to the polls or include a copy of it with your vote-by-mail ballot. For a list of the more than 30 acceptable forms of identification, click here.
The Bay Area is humming with pre-election excitement.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris rallied the troops for Barack Obama at midday today in the UA Local 38 hall on Market Street in San Francisco, even as hundreds of volunteers packed into the Oakland Marriott for an enormous swing-state phone banking effort which will continue tomorrow.
I guess the Golden Gate Minutemen sense which way the wind is blowing; they’re planning their post-Obama-victory protest for Wednesday. Somehow, I feel as if the misspellings (“Barak?” And your own URL? For real?) make this news release even better, as if the prospect of all those “gay socialist judges” wasn’t enough…
In case of an Obama Victory…
Minutemen Protest Barak Hussien Obama!
= ‘Spreading the Wealth’
= Civil Security Force
= Global Poverty tax
= ACORN election fraud
= Gay Socialist Judges
Mowry/Fremont Blvd. intersection
4:45pm to 5:45pm
(510) 355 – 0357
$25,000-and-up contributions to California campaigns and committees, which skyrocketed last week, continued in a mighty flood this week with just days to go before the election. This is my roundup as of about 5 p.m.; I’m sure they’ll continue to roll in…
The highlights in brief:
Tons of money moved for and against Proposition 8 this week, including a tide of cash from Mormons and out-of-state donors supporting the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Chesapeake Energy anted another $1 million — bringing its total so far to $3 million — for Proposition 10, the alternative fuels intiative from which it stands to make a bundle (though its ante is still chump change next to the $18.75 million put up by Prop. 10 proponent T. Boone Pickens‘ Clean Energy Fuels Corp.)
A whole lot more incumbent or otherwise safe Democratic candidates continued tithing money back to the state party.
And children’s hospitals across California made a last-ditch effort to prop up Proposition 3, the Children’s Hospital Bond Act.
We all knew Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is headed to the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, today for a campaign rally with Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
But, look out — Oakland’s getting into the swing-state blitz, too. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums departs Saturday morning for Tampa, Fla., where he’s to do some early-voting and get-out-the-vote appearances Sunday on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Dellums, you’ll recall, had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary; she named him chairman of her campaign’s urban policy committee. It’s not surprising he’s giving his all to make sure any Democrat wins the White House, though some might find it surprising that he’s jetting out of Oakland for the weekend before city residents vote on Measure NN — a parcel tax to pay for hiring more police officers — which he helped put on the ballot…
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is planning a “Get Out the Vote Hip-Hop Rally” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. tommorow — Thursday, Oct. 30 — on Laney College’s quad, 900 Fallon St. in Oakland. Her campaign’s news release says it’s a “collaborative effort between Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Generation Obama and Charles Johnson of the Town Business Network … to educate and excite youth and young adults in the 9th Congressional District about the historic presidential election.” DLabrie, Ise Lyfe, Young Moses and Kev Choice are scheduled to perform.
Much has been made of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin saying in her stump speech that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was someone apt to “pal around with terrorists.”
I’m curious to see what she’ll say about today’s conviction of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaksa, on seven felony counts of making false statements on Senate financial documents about gifts he received from contractor Bill Allen, oil services company VECO Corp., and others.
After all, Palin from 2003 to 2005 was a director of “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service Inc.,” a “section 527″ independent political committee that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors and was aimed at serving as a political boot camp for Republican women in Alaska. And Palin and Stevens were expressing their mutual admiration as recently as July:
Does Palin believe Stevens, who until today has been in a tight race with Democratic challenger Mark Begich, should resign from office? If he beats Begich — which seems less likely as today’s news breaks, Stevens could stay in the Senate while appealing his convictions; such appeals would have to be exhausted before the ethics committee would move to expel him.
So, if a candidate’s associations — be they past or present, distant or quite familiar — are on the table in this election as Palin and John McCain have repeatedly insisted, how much of a maverick will Palin be today?
UPDATE @ 4:03 P.M.: Answer — not much. “I’m confident Senator Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska,” Palin said in a statement.
UPDATE @ 5:21 P.M.: Christopher Scott Simmonds, formerly of Oakland and now of Rancho Cordova, called in with the astute, ironic observation that Stevens remains eligible to vote in the Senate, yet as a convicted felon is no longer eligible to vote in this election Nov. 4. But Alaska’s early voting began a week ago; who’ll take the bet that he already cast his ballot?