Voter #s: Dems a smidge up, GOP a smidge down

Democrats made a tiny gain in recent months while Republicans continued a long, slow slide in new voter registration numbers released Monday by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Monday’s figures show the state’s Democratic registration at 43.93 percent as of Feb. 10, up a fraction from the 43.66 percent stake the party held just before November’s election. Republican registration dropped to 28.94 percent as of Feb. 10 from 29.36 percent as of Oct. 22. And the trend toward nonpartisan registration leveled off somewhat in recent months, going from 20.94 percent in October to 20.86 percent in February.

In the last two years, the percentage of voters registered with the Democratic Party decreased by 0.1 percent and voters registered with the Republican Party decreased by 2 percent. The number of registered voters with no party preference has increased by more than 259,000 during the same period.

A few minor parties made minor progress in the past two years – American Independent registration rose from 2.43 percent to 2.64 percent and Libertarian registration rose from 0.54 percent to 0.61 percent – but they as well as the Green and Peace and Freedom Party will find it increasingly hard to get much attention and retain their ballot statuses under the state’s newly implemented top-two primary system.

Overall, 75.7 percent of eligible Californians are registered to vote – down from 76.7 percent as of last October, but up from 72.8 percent at this time two years ago. A total of 18,055,783 Californians are now registered to vote – an increase of 869,252 since the last off-year report, but down from the raw-number high of 18,245,970 in the fall of 2012.

“Voter registration often dips in an off-year when counties update voter rolls following a general election, but the good news is registration is still up by about 3 percent from this time two years ago,” Bowen said in a news release. “I built online voter registration, in part, to make it easier for the 25 percent of Californians who are eligible to register to vote but have not. It’s now easier than ever to participate; so if you haven’t yet registered to vote, or if you moved and need to re-register, fill out an application online right now.”

By law, statewide voter registration updates must occur 60 and 15 days before each general election, and 154, 60 and 15 days before each primary election. One update is published in each odd-numbered year with no regularly scheduled statewide election.


Green, Libertarian VP candidates to visit Bay Area

The veeps are coming, the veeps are coming!

No, not Biden and Ryan – Honkala and Gray. Just as the Green and Libertarian presidential candidates barnstormed the Bay Area a few weeks ago, their running mates will be in town next week to meet the masses.

Green vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala, an advocate for the homeless from Philadelphia, from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday will be at Silicon Valley De-Bug, 701 Lenzen Ave. in San Jose, joined by hip-hop artists and community educators DLabrie, Rahman Jamaal of RonDavoux Records, and Metafizix.

On Monday, Honkala will be at a voter awareness month rally at De Anza College in Cupertino from noon to 2 p.m., and then from 4 to 5 p.m. she’ll attend a screening of “Brooklyn Castle” at Youth Uprising, 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland, co-hosted by the Hip Hop Chess Federation. After that she’ll take part in a radio panel discussion hosted by Davey D, and she’ll finish the day with a rally and fundraiser at the headquarters of Berkeley Green mayoral candidate Kahlil Jacobs Fantauzzi from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at 1551 University Ave. in Berkeley.

Libertarian vice presidential candidate Jim Gray, a drug reform activist and former Orange County Superior Court judge, will speak at 6 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Oberndorf Event Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 641 Knight Way on the Stanford campus.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green presidential candidate Jill Stein will take part, along with other third-party candidates, in a debate at 6 p.m. PDT Tuesday in Chicago. Most TV networks are ignoring the event, moderated by Larry King, but it will be streamed live on the Internet at Ora TV, Russia Today, and the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.


Green presidential candidate picks running mate

Jill SteinGreen Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein today announced anti-poverty advocate Cheri Honkala of Philadelphia as her running mate, rather than either of the two Californians who’d vied with her for the party’s nomination.

Honkala is national coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, a multi-racial, inter-generational movement led by the poor and homeless. After her own experience as a homeless, single mom, Honkala has spent nearly three decades working with the poor to build a movement to end poverty, and has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities. She ran for sheriff in Philadelphia last year on a “no-evictions” platform, vowing to help families in foreclosure stay in their homes.

“Ever since deciding to run for President, I’ve been thinking about who would have the strength and courage to take up this fight with me,” Stein said in a news release. “Cheri Honkala has shown tremendous perseverance and leadership, despite remarkable odds. Her selflessness and demonstrated capacity to inspire make her the perfect Vice Presidential candidate to help me reclaim democracy.”

Cheri HonkalaHonkala said it’s “immoral that children are hungry and homeless in the richest country in the world.”

“It’s time for the 99 percent to stand united to serve our collective human needs instead of selfish, corporate greed,” she said. “The Green Party is the only one standing up to Wall Street, and Jill Stein’s Green New Deal is the best plan for saving this sinking ship. I’m honored to fight beside her.”

Stein’s release said Green Party supporters had submitted more than 200 recommendations for running mates and several dozen were considered, including the other Green Party presidential candidates, Roseanne Barr of El Segundo and Kent Mesplay of San Diego.

The Green Party of the United States opens its national convention tomorrow in Baltimore.


Barr’s ‘RoMentum’ becomes ‘NoMentum”

Despite her Rose-y predictions the other day, Roseanne Barr’s “RoMentum” appears to have turned to “NoMentum” on Tuesday as her home state’s Green Party voters preferred Jill Stein of Massachusetts as their nominee.

With about 64 percent of precincts reporting, at about 12:35 a.m. Wednesday, Stein had 48.6 percent of the vote to Barr’s 39.7 percent; another Californian, Kent Mesplay of San Diego, had about 11.7 percent of the vote.

The actress/comedienne-turned-candidate had been looking to California, which has 65 Green delegates, to help her continue closing the gap with Stein, who’d come out on top in 22 primaries before this past weekend, when Barr finally won a few.


Roseanne Barr claims ‘RoMentum’ before CA vote

Mitt Romney now has enough delegates to clinch the GOP presidential nomination, but lurking out there among the minor parties in tomorrow’s primary election is a showdown for the ages featuring someone who once was among the nation’s better-known TV stars.

Roseanne Barr “The more Americans hear my platform of ending our wars, legalizing pot, locking up corporate criminals and getting their filthy money out of politics, the more they support my candidacy,” comedian/actress Roseanne Barr said in a news release issued early this morning. “When they hear about the 10 Key Values of the Green Party, they understand that the only way to change our politics and fix our country is to break up our corporate-sponsored ‘two-party’ system. Thanks to this weekend’s victories, we’re heading into California with the wind at our backs – we’ve got the RoMentum!”

Barr did have a great weekend. Until now, Green presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein of Lexington, Mass., had gone 22 for 22 in Green Party primaries across the nation, picking up 143 delegates to Barr’s 40 (like California’s GOP primary, they’re not all winner-take-all).

But Barr got 69 percent of the vote in Georgia, 53 percent of the vote in Oregon and clean sweeps of all the delegates in North Dakota and South Dakota this weekend. The Green primary tomorrow here in California – Barr’s home state – has 65 delegates at stake.

“We all know that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee and Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee,” Barr said. “That’s why I’ve urged all Californians to cross over and register Green to send a chilling message to Democrats, Republicans and their masters on Wall Street: Your goose is cooked. You are outnumbered and we’ve got you surrounded. Behold the greening of America.”

If you hadn’t gotten that message already, it’s way too late to switch parties now for tomorrow’s election; also, the Green Party has chosen not to let no-party-preference voters cast ballots in its primary.

Kent Mesplay of San Diego also is in the race, but has lagged far behind Stein and Barr. The Greens will hold their nominating convention July 12-15 in Baltimore.

Maybe she can call the convention to order by leading the National Anthem. Lest we forget:


Green candidate hires Gonzalez as her lawyer

Green gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells, who was arrested outside the gubernatorial debate at Dominican University of California in San Rafael last month, has retained San Francisco attorney Matt Gonzalez – the former San Francisco supervisor, 2003 mayoral candidate and 2008 independent vice presidential candidate – to represent her in court tomorrow.

Police said Wells, 62, a financial analyst from Oakland, was arrested when she tried to enter the Oct. 12 debate using someone else’s non-transferable ticket, and then raised a ruckus when she was denied entry and asked to leave. Security guards at the debate handed her over to San Rafael Police, who cited her for trespassing and then released her with a Nov. 2 court date.

Her news release says she was out over the weekend gathering almost 1,000 signatures on a petition asking the Marin County District Attorney’s office to dismiss the charge against her and investigate those responsible for her arrest, which she claims was a violation of her civil rights.