Commentary: Voting by Mail

Yolo County Clerk-Recorder Freddie Oakley has a legitimate concern about the low voter turnouts in Yolo County this past election.

From a financial standpoint it makes a lot of sense for the county to go to vote-by-mail only elections particularly in elections where the voter turnout is likely to be very low. Ms. Oakley believes this solution could save the county around $150,000 per election. An amount which is not chump change, especially over time.

On November 6, nearly 60 percent of ballots cast were mail-in ballots and less than a quarter of those registered actually voted. There were polling places that had 10 voters cast ballots in an entire day.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Oakley, I have an alternative suggestion that unfortunately is somewhat out of the hands of the Clerk-Recorder.

When I lived in San Luis Obispo, ironically in the first election I participated in, the voters voted to put all of the local elections on a single-ballot: the November General Election. That put all City Council and School Board Elections on the November ballot in even years when it would share a ballot with either the President or the Governor every single time.

The result is that except under very extreme circumstances (and there have some: the death of Congressman Walter Capps, the recall of Governor Gray Davis, and the ballot initiative that Governor Schwarzenegger put on the ballot), there have been two elections every cycle–the primary and general–and that is it.

Think about that from a cost saving point of view. Mail-in would save some money, but the marginal cost of having a few more items on the ballot is very small. Hey if school board doesn’t want to be on the November General Election ballot, they can share a place with the City Council.

They may argue that they will get lost in the shuffle in a big election and they like the spotlight. I would suggest when 30 percent of the people show up to the polls, there is no spotlight. No one is paying attention. Other than the controversy involving stuffing envelopes on campus, school board issues did not generate a lot of interest on the blog either.

I am not opposed to a mail-in only election, but for me, I like to go cast my ballot on election day. I like to go to the polls, see what’s going on in my neighborhood, go into that polling place, I used to like to punch my ballots before we went to the new system, and I especially like getting my “I Voted” sticker and wearing it all day, reminding others that it is election day and hopefully enticing them to also go to the polls.

From the standpoint of the Clerk-Recorder, moving an electoral date is somewhat out of the question. Moreover, I suspect that the school board somewhat likes the low voter turnout particularly when they want to pass parcel taxes. But if we are looking at this from a cost perspective, it makes more sense to consolidate elections.

The issue here is people are not interested in these elections, these issues. We have too many elections as it is. The election last month was the first of four in the next year, we have another one in February, another in June, and finally in November. People will come out for the big ones, so why not utilize that? Thus, I would prefer instead of going to mail-in only elections, we simply consolidate our elections to two a cycle–a general and a primary both in the even year.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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76 Comments

  1. Attorney at Law

    DPD – I agree with your point whole-heartedly. Consolidating elections makes good sense. Also, I wonder if there might be a legal problem with denying a person their right to vote in person? Something is niggling at the back of my brain about that one.

    One comment though. Low voter turnout is not always a result of apathy. Voters may feel there are not any good choices to vote for. I know in the most recent school board election, many complained to me that the 4 choices offered were awful. I concurred. I voted for my two choices not because I thought they were the most qualified, but because I didn’t want the other two to win. Not a very good reason to vote, but better than not voting at all.

  2. Attorney at Law

    DPD – I agree with your point whole-heartedly. Consolidating elections makes good sense. Also, I wonder if there might be a legal problem with denying a person their right to vote in person? Something is niggling at the back of my brain about that one.

    One comment though. Low voter turnout is not always a result of apathy. Voters may feel there are not any good choices to vote for. I know in the most recent school board election, many complained to me that the 4 choices offered were awful. I concurred. I voted for my two choices not because I thought they were the most qualified, but because I didn’t want the other two to win. Not a very good reason to vote, but better than not voting at all.

  3. Attorney at Law

    DPD – I agree with your point whole-heartedly. Consolidating elections makes good sense. Also, I wonder if there might be a legal problem with denying a person their right to vote in person? Something is niggling at the back of my brain about that one.

    One comment though. Low voter turnout is not always a result of apathy. Voters may feel there are not any good choices to vote for. I know in the most recent school board election, many complained to me that the 4 choices offered were awful. I concurred. I voted for my two choices not because I thought they were the most qualified, but because I didn’t want the other two to win. Not a very good reason to vote, but better than not voting at all.

  4. Attorney at Law

    DPD – I agree with your point whole-heartedly. Consolidating elections makes good sense. Also, I wonder if there might be a legal problem with denying a person their right to vote in person? Something is niggling at the back of my brain about that one.

    One comment though. Low voter turnout is not always a result of apathy. Voters may feel there are not any good choices to vote for. I know in the most recent school board election, many complained to me that the 4 choices offered were awful. I concurred. I voted for my two choices not because I thought they were the most qualified, but because I didn’t want the other two to win. Not a very good reason to vote, but better than not voting at all.

  5. Anonymous

    The common political wisdom(not necessarily accurate or most worthy) is that putting all your tax increases on one ballot makes getting a 2/3 vote more difficult.. a sad commentary on the attention-span and thought processes of the voter.

  6. Anonymous

    The common political wisdom(not necessarily accurate or most worthy) is that putting all your tax increases on one ballot makes getting a 2/3 vote more difficult.. a sad commentary on the attention-span and thought processes of the voter.

  7. Anonymous

    The common political wisdom(not necessarily accurate or most worthy) is that putting all your tax increases on one ballot makes getting a 2/3 vote more difficult.. a sad commentary on the attention-span and thought processes of the voter.

  8. Anonymous

    The common political wisdom(not necessarily accurate or most worthy) is that putting all your tax increases on one ballot makes getting a 2/3 vote more difficult.. a sad commentary on the attention-span and thought processes of the voter.

  9. Rich Rifkin

    When I wrote about vote-by-mail elections a year ago — see my December 27, 2006 column in The Davis Enterprise — Freddie Oakley was not only against vote-by-mail elections, she was downright hostile to them (and I quoted her as such). “I really love democracy, and I want more people to be involved in governance and I think maintaining polling places advances that goal. So I’m not an advocate for all-mail balloting.”

    But two facts that she could not deny make vote-by-mail very attractive: 1) the tremendous cost savings; and 2) the higher turn-out.

    Oregon has years of experience with vote-by-mail. Political scientists have studied the effect: Oregonians of all incomes, all races, all ages, genders, etc., vote in larger numbers in mail-only elections. The same will happen here: with vote-by-mail, turnout will increase.

  10. Rich Rifkin

    When I wrote about vote-by-mail elections a year ago — see my December 27, 2006 column in The Davis Enterprise — Freddie Oakley was not only against vote-by-mail elections, she was downright hostile to them (and I quoted her as such). “I really love democracy, and I want more people to be involved in governance and I think maintaining polling places advances that goal. So I’m not an advocate for all-mail balloting.”

    But two facts that she could not deny make vote-by-mail very attractive: 1) the tremendous cost savings; and 2) the higher turn-out.

    Oregon has years of experience with vote-by-mail. Political scientists have studied the effect: Oregonians of all incomes, all races, all ages, genders, etc., vote in larger numbers in mail-only elections. The same will happen here: with vote-by-mail, turnout will increase.

  11. Rich Rifkin

    When I wrote about vote-by-mail elections a year ago — see my December 27, 2006 column in The Davis Enterprise — Freddie Oakley was not only against vote-by-mail elections, she was downright hostile to them (and I quoted her as such). “I really love democracy, and I want more people to be involved in governance and I think maintaining polling places advances that goal. So I’m not an advocate for all-mail balloting.”

    But two facts that she could not deny make vote-by-mail very attractive: 1) the tremendous cost savings; and 2) the higher turn-out.

    Oregon has years of experience with vote-by-mail. Political scientists have studied the effect: Oregonians of all incomes, all races, all ages, genders, etc., vote in larger numbers in mail-only elections. The same will happen here: with vote-by-mail, turnout will increase.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    When I wrote about vote-by-mail elections a year ago — see my December 27, 2006 column in The Davis Enterprise — Freddie Oakley was not only against vote-by-mail elections, she was downright hostile to them (and I quoted her as such). “I really love democracy, and I want more people to be involved in governance and I think maintaining polling places advances that goal. So I’m not an advocate for all-mail balloting.”

    But two facts that she could not deny make vote-by-mail very attractive: 1) the tremendous cost savings; and 2) the higher turn-out.

    Oregon has years of experience with vote-by-mail. Political scientists have studied the effect: Oregonians of all incomes, all races, all ages, genders, etc., vote in larger numbers in mail-only elections. The same will happen here: with vote-by-mail, turnout will increase.

  13. don shor

    Oregon has been voting entirely by mail for a few years now. I believe there are voting stations where people can turn in their ballots on election day.

    Voting by mail is very convenient. I’ve been in a mandatory absentee status for years, due to low population in my rural area. You have the choice of voting ahead of time, at your convenience, or filling out the ballot and dropping it off at ANY polling station.

    A big advantage of mail voting is it dilutes the influence of last-minute hit pieces and distorted advertising.

    Not voting is a form of voting. There is no point in trying to force people to vote, nor is it necessarily appropriate to criticize people for not voting. Sometimes we vote for someone, sometimes we vote against someone, sometimes we choose the lesser of two evils. Some people choose not to vote as an expression of their disgust with all the options. I’d rather that uninformed people NOT vote than otherwise.

  14. don shor

    Oregon has been voting entirely by mail for a few years now. I believe there are voting stations where people can turn in their ballots on election day.

    Voting by mail is very convenient. I’ve been in a mandatory absentee status for years, due to low population in my rural area. You have the choice of voting ahead of time, at your convenience, or filling out the ballot and dropping it off at ANY polling station.

    A big advantage of mail voting is it dilutes the influence of last-minute hit pieces and distorted advertising.

    Not voting is a form of voting. There is no point in trying to force people to vote, nor is it necessarily appropriate to criticize people for not voting. Sometimes we vote for someone, sometimes we vote against someone, sometimes we choose the lesser of two evils. Some people choose not to vote as an expression of their disgust with all the options. I’d rather that uninformed people NOT vote than otherwise.

  15. don shor

    Oregon has been voting entirely by mail for a few years now. I believe there are voting stations where people can turn in their ballots on election day.

    Voting by mail is very convenient. I’ve been in a mandatory absentee status for years, due to low population in my rural area. You have the choice of voting ahead of time, at your convenience, or filling out the ballot and dropping it off at ANY polling station.

    A big advantage of mail voting is it dilutes the influence of last-minute hit pieces and distorted advertising.

    Not voting is a form of voting. There is no point in trying to force people to vote, nor is it necessarily appropriate to criticize people for not voting. Sometimes we vote for someone, sometimes we vote against someone, sometimes we choose the lesser of two evils. Some people choose not to vote as an expression of their disgust with all the options. I’d rather that uninformed people NOT vote than otherwise.

  16. don shor

    Oregon has been voting entirely by mail for a few years now. I believe there are voting stations where people can turn in their ballots on election day.

    Voting by mail is very convenient. I’ve been in a mandatory absentee status for years, due to low population in my rural area. You have the choice of voting ahead of time, at your convenience, or filling out the ballot and dropping it off at ANY polling station.

    A big advantage of mail voting is it dilutes the influence of last-minute hit pieces and distorted advertising.

    Not voting is a form of voting. There is no point in trying to force people to vote, nor is it necessarily appropriate to criticize people for not voting. Sometimes we vote for someone, sometimes we vote against someone, sometimes we choose the lesser of two evils. Some people choose not to vote as an expression of their disgust with all the options. I’d rather that uninformed people NOT vote than otherwise.

  17. Rich Rifkin

    Regarding even-year only ballots, I tend to agree. However, if we had a simpler ballot, I think more people might vote.

    My sense is that many people who are busy with their families and jobs feel overwhelmed by a ballot in which they are being asked to make a decision on races for county executive positions (clerk/controller, auditor, sheriff, district attorney, county school board, etc.), races for state executives (insurance commissioner, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, lt. governor, etc.), usually about 10 initiatives/referendums, plus all of the legislative positions (supervisors, city council, state legislature and senate) and the governor.

    To remedy that, I would recommend that we don’t vote on any executive positions, save governor. At the county level, we should vote for our supervisors and let them hire the DA, the sheriff, the auditor, etc. At the state level, we should elect the legislators and governor, and let the governor pick his own cabinet with each member voted up or down by the state senate. As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.

    If all that were done, the decisions voters made would be more important and easier to understand. It would still be more complicated than most parliamentary systems — where voters just vote for a party or for a member of the national and provincial parliament — but less intimidating and confusing than what we now have.

    I believe if voters had fewer decisions to make, they could focus on them, study the crucial facts and make an informed decision. But with dozens of elections going on, it’s impossible for most people to make an informed decision on most of them.

  18. Rich Rifkin

    Regarding even-year only ballots, I tend to agree. However, if we had a simpler ballot, I think more people might vote.

    My sense is that many people who are busy with their families and jobs feel overwhelmed by a ballot in which they are being asked to make a decision on races for county executive positions (clerk/controller, auditor, sheriff, district attorney, county school board, etc.), races for state executives (insurance commissioner, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, lt. governor, etc.), usually about 10 initiatives/referendums, plus all of the legislative positions (supervisors, city council, state legislature and senate) and the governor.

    To remedy that, I would recommend that we don’t vote on any executive positions, save governor. At the county level, we should vote for our supervisors and let them hire the DA, the sheriff, the auditor, etc. At the state level, we should elect the legislators and governor, and let the governor pick his own cabinet with each member voted up or down by the state senate. As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.

    If all that were done, the decisions voters made would be more important and easier to understand. It would still be more complicated than most parliamentary systems — where voters just vote for a party or for a member of the national and provincial parliament — but less intimidating and confusing than what we now have.

    I believe if voters had fewer decisions to make, they could focus on them, study the crucial facts and make an informed decision. But with dozens of elections going on, it’s impossible for most people to make an informed decision on most of them.

  19. Rich Rifkin

    Regarding even-year only ballots, I tend to agree. However, if we had a simpler ballot, I think more people might vote.

    My sense is that many people who are busy with their families and jobs feel overwhelmed by a ballot in which they are being asked to make a decision on races for county executive positions (clerk/controller, auditor, sheriff, district attorney, county school board, etc.), races for state executives (insurance commissioner, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, lt. governor, etc.), usually about 10 initiatives/referendums, plus all of the legislative positions (supervisors, city council, state legislature and senate) and the governor.

    To remedy that, I would recommend that we don’t vote on any executive positions, save governor. At the county level, we should vote for our supervisors and let them hire the DA, the sheriff, the auditor, etc. At the state level, we should elect the legislators and governor, and let the governor pick his own cabinet with each member voted up or down by the state senate. As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.

    If all that were done, the decisions voters made would be more important and easier to understand. It would still be more complicated than most parliamentary systems — where voters just vote for a party or for a member of the national and provincial parliament — but less intimidating and confusing than what we now have.

    I believe if voters had fewer decisions to make, they could focus on them, study the crucial facts and make an informed decision. But with dozens of elections going on, it’s impossible for most people to make an informed decision on most of them.

  20. Rich Rifkin

    Regarding even-year only ballots, I tend to agree. However, if we had a simpler ballot, I think more people might vote.

    My sense is that many people who are busy with their families and jobs feel overwhelmed by a ballot in which they are being asked to make a decision on races for county executive positions (clerk/controller, auditor, sheriff, district attorney, county school board, etc.), races for state executives (insurance commissioner, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, lt. governor, etc.), usually about 10 initiatives/referendums, plus all of the legislative positions (supervisors, city council, state legislature and senate) and the governor.

    To remedy that, I would recommend that we don’t vote on any executive positions, save governor. At the county level, we should vote for our supervisors and let them hire the DA, the sheriff, the auditor, etc. At the state level, we should elect the legislators and governor, and let the governor pick his own cabinet with each member voted up or down by the state senate. As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.

    If all that were done, the decisions voters made would be more important and easier to understand. It would still be more complicated than most parliamentary systems — where voters just vote for a party or for a member of the national and provincial parliament — but less intimidating and confusing than what we now have.

    I believe if voters had fewer decisions to make, they could focus on them, study the crucial facts and make an informed decision. But with dozens of elections going on, it’s impossible for most people to make an informed decision on most of them.

  21. Anonymous

    Rich-

    The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job. That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.

    Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.

  22. Anonymous

    Rich-

    The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job. That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.

    Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.

  23. Anonymous

    Rich-

    The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job. That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.

    Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.

  24. Anonymous

    Rich-

    The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job. That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.

    Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.

  25. Anonymous

    there is nothing more than i look forward to (about voting – not life 🙂 )but going to the poll to cast my votes. i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote it would just be cheaper. as an interim step maybe we could just have less polling places – say 1 in S Davis, 1 in C Davis, 1 in W Davis and 1 in E Davis.

  26. Anonymous

    there is nothing more than i look forward to (about voting – not life 🙂 )but going to the poll to cast my votes. i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote it would just be cheaper. as an interim step maybe we could just have less polling places – say 1 in S Davis, 1 in C Davis, 1 in W Davis and 1 in E Davis.

  27. Anonymous

    there is nothing more than i look forward to (about voting – not life 🙂 )but going to the poll to cast my votes. i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote it would just be cheaper. as an interim step maybe we could just have less polling places – say 1 in S Davis, 1 in C Davis, 1 in W Davis and 1 in E Davis.

  28. Anonymous

    there is nothing more than i look forward to (about voting – not life 🙂 )but going to the poll to cast my votes. i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote it would just be cheaper. as an interim step maybe we could just have less polling places – say 1 in S Davis, 1 in C Davis, 1 in W Davis and 1 in E Davis.

  29. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job.”

    The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.

    Also, these jobs are ones requiring professional managers, not necessarily great campaigners. Many, if not most, of the best candidates to actually run these departments would never run in a political campaign. That takes a certain set of skills (fundraising, speechmaking, shmoozing, sucking up to special interests) unrelated to a professional manager. Yet the people we are electing are often unprepared to actually do the jobs, lacking professional management experience.

    “That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.”

    We have democracy. We popularly elect all five county supervisors. I would not oppose expanding that number to seven and be more democratic.

    What kind of “democracy” is it when very few citizens vote and virtually no one pays attention to what kind of job these people are doing?

    I’m more interested in having someone in the job who is well qualified to do the job, picked by a group of supervisors who could spend the time necessary to consider all the best candidates.

    “Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.”

    When I spoke with her about this — a year ago — she seemed hostile to the idea to me. She called mail-only balloting “elitist,” and said she was “not an elitist.” I believe she would agree that she formerly was “hostile” to the idea.

  30. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job.”

    The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.

    Also, these jobs are ones requiring professional managers, not necessarily great campaigners. Many, if not most, of the best candidates to actually run these departments would never run in a political campaign. That takes a certain set of skills (fundraising, speechmaking, shmoozing, sucking up to special interests) unrelated to a professional manager. Yet the people we are electing are often unprepared to actually do the jobs, lacking professional management experience.

    “That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.”

    We have democracy. We popularly elect all five county supervisors. I would not oppose expanding that number to seven and be more democratic.

    What kind of “democracy” is it when very few citizens vote and virtually no one pays attention to what kind of job these people are doing?

    I’m more interested in having someone in the job who is well qualified to do the job, picked by a group of supervisors who could spend the time necessary to consider all the best candidates.

    “Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.”

    When I spoke with her about this — a year ago — she seemed hostile to the idea to me. She called mail-only balloting “elitist,” and said she was “not an elitist.” I believe she would agree that she formerly was “hostile” to the idea.

  31. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job.”

    The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.

    Also, these jobs are ones requiring professional managers, not necessarily great campaigners. Many, if not most, of the best candidates to actually run these departments would never run in a political campaign. That takes a certain set of skills (fundraising, speechmaking, shmoozing, sucking up to special interests) unrelated to a professional manager. Yet the people we are electing are often unprepared to actually do the jobs, lacking professional management experience.

    “That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.”

    We have democracy. We popularly elect all five county supervisors. I would not oppose expanding that number to seven and be more democratic.

    What kind of “democracy” is it when very few citizens vote and virtually no one pays attention to what kind of job these people are doing?

    I’m more interested in having someone in the job who is well qualified to do the job, picked by a group of supervisors who could spend the time necessary to consider all the best candidates.

    “Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.”

    When I spoke with her about this — a year ago — she seemed hostile to the idea to me. She called mail-only balloting “elitist,” and said she was “not an elitist.” I believe she would agree that she formerly was “hostile” to the idea.

  32. Rich Rifkin

    “The problem with having supervisors choose a majority of county department heads is that then the department heads are beholden to the supervisors- take a stand unpopular with a few, and risk losing your job.”

    The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.

    Also, these jobs are ones requiring professional managers, not necessarily great campaigners. Many, if not most, of the best candidates to actually run these departments would never run in a political campaign. That takes a certain set of skills (fundraising, speechmaking, shmoozing, sucking up to special interests) unrelated to a professional manager. Yet the people we are electing are often unprepared to actually do the jobs, lacking professional management experience.

    “That kind of system does little to help bring democracy to the local level.”

    We have democracy. We popularly elect all five county supervisors. I would not oppose expanding that number to seven and be more democratic.

    What kind of “democracy” is it when very few citizens vote and virtually no one pays attention to what kind of job these people are doing?

    I’m more interested in having someone in the job who is well qualified to do the job, picked by a group of supervisors who could spend the time necessary to consider all the best candidates.

    “Also- as your quote from Freddie Oakley- nothing about it seems “downright hostile” to me.”

    When I spoke with her about this — a year ago — she seemed hostile to the idea to me. She called mail-only balloting “elitist,” and said she was “not an elitist.” I believe she would agree that she formerly was “hostile” to the idea.

  33. Rich Rifkin

    “i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote”

    A political scientist in Oregon (I forget her name) studied this issue, examining turnout by all age, race, income and demographic groups before mail-only voting and since. And she concluded that mail-only increased voter turn-out by roughly 20%. That number was even higher for groups which traditionally don’t show up at the polls in high numbers.

    The reason she found was convenience. If voters are busy on election day, or out of town unexpectedly, or distracted that day, or ill, or the weather is poor, or if their car isn’t functioning, or any number of other reasons, they don’t vote. But when elections are mail-only, voters have 3-4 weeks to cast their ballots. And they don’t need to drive (or walk) to a polling place, so the weather, or their car or illness don’t matter. If they get too busy for a few days to focus on their ballots, they can wait until they have the time. They then will vote. And that is why turnout is so much stronger in mail-only elections.

  34. Rich Rifkin

    “i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote”

    A political scientist in Oregon (I forget her name) studied this issue, examining turnout by all age, race, income and demographic groups before mail-only voting and since. And she concluded that mail-only increased voter turn-out by roughly 20%. That number was even higher for groups which traditionally don’t show up at the polls in high numbers.

    The reason she found was convenience. If voters are busy on election day, or out of town unexpectedly, or distracted that day, or ill, or the weather is poor, or if their car isn’t functioning, or any number of other reasons, they don’t vote. But when elections are mail-only, voters have 3-4 weeks to cast their ballots. And they don’t need to drive (or walk) to a polling place, so the weather, or their car or illness don’t matter. If they get too busy for a few days to focus on their ballots, they can wait until they have the time. They then will vote. And that is why turnout is so much stronger in mail-only elections.

  35. Rich Rifkin

    “i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote”

    A political scientist in Oregon (I forget her name) studied this issue, examining turnout by all age, race, income and demographic groups before mail-only voting and since. And she concluded that mail-only increased voter turn-out by roughly 20%. That number was even higher for groups which traditionally don’t show up at the polls in high numbers.

    The reason she found was convenience. If voters are busy on election day, or out of town unexpectedly, or distracted that day, or ill, or the weather is poor, or if their car isn’t functioning, or any number of other reasons, they don’t vote. But when elections are mail-only, voters have 3-4 weeks to cast their ballots. And they don’t need to drive (or walk) to a polling place, so the weather, or their car or illness don’t matter. If they get too busy for a few days to focus on their ballots, they can wait until they have the time. They then will vote. And that is why turnout is so much stronger in mail-only elections.

  36. Rich Rifkin

    “i’m not sure mail only voting would actually get more people to vote”

    A political scientist in Oregon (I forget her name) studied this issue, examining turnout by all age, race, income and demographic groups before mail-only voting and since. And she concluded that mail-only increased voter turn-out by roughly 20%. That number was even higher for groups which traditionally don’t show up at the polls in high numbers.

    The reason she found was convenience. If voters are busy on election day, or out of town unexpectedly, or distracted that day, or ill, or the weather is poor, or if their car isn’t functioning, or any number of other reasons, they don’t vote. But when elections are mail-only, voters have 3-4 weeks to cast their ballots. And they don’t need to drive (or walk) to a polling place, so the weather, or their car or illness don’t matter. If they get too busy for a few days to focus on their ballots, they can wait until they have the time. They then will vote. And that is why turnout is so much stronger in mail-only elections.

  37. 無名 - wu ming

    i’m torn here. i personally enjoy voting on election day at the polls, but mail-in voting does seem to have worked better WRET turnout in oregon (although it’s less private than booth voting, since other people can view what choices one actually made).

    i tend to agree about consolidating election dates. the election every couple of months game is getting old fast. and while i knee-jerk distrust rifkin’s proposal to reduce the number of directly elected officials (because of the proposal, not because rich said it), truth be told i would probably agree with it on several specific cases.

  38. 無名 - wu ming

    i’m torn here. i personally enjoy voting on election day at the polls, but mail-in voting does seem to have worked better WRET turnout in oregon (although it’s less private than booth voting, since other people can view what choices one actually made).

    i tend to agree about consolidating election dates. the election every couple of months game is getting old fast. and while i knee-jerk distrust rifkin’s proposal to reduce the number of directly elected officials (because of the proposal, not because rich said it), truth be told i would probably agree with it on several specific cases.

  39. 無名 - wu ming

    i’m torn here. i personally enjoy voting on election day at the polls, but mail-in voting does seem to have worked better WRET turnout in oregon (although it’s less private than booth voting, since other people can view what choices one actually made).

    i tend to agree about consolidating election dates. the election every couple of months game is getting old fast. and while i knee-jerk distrust rifkin’s proposal to reduce the number of directly elected officials (because of the proposal, not because rich said it), truth be told i would probably agree with it on several specific cases.

  40. 無名 - wu ming

    i’m torn here. i personally enjoy voting on election day at the polls, but mail-in voting does seem to have worked better WRET turnout in oregon (although it’s less private than booth voting, since other people can view what choices one actually made).

    i tend to agree about consolidating election dates. the election every couple of months game is getting old fast. and while i knee-jerk distrust rifkin’s proposal to reduce the number of directly elected officials (because of the proposal, not because rich said it), truth be told i would probably agree with it on several specific cases.

  41. Frequent Voter

    I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).

    I wonder how much Freddie thinks this might save us.

    BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    I realize you may want recognition for an idea that you think you gave her, but what’s important here is what decisions are made not necessarily who gets credit.

    Let’s say you both had a good idea and leave it at that. It sounds fair to me.

  42. Frequent Voter

    I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).

    I wonder how much Freddie thinks this might save us.

    BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    I realize you may want recognition for an idea that you think you gave her, but what’s important here is what decisions are made not necessarily who gets credit.

    Let’s say you both had a good idea and leave it at that. It sounds fair to me.

  43. Frequent Voter

    I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).

    I wonder how much Freddie thinks this might save us.

    BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    I realize you may want recognition for an idea that you think you gave her, but what’s important here is what decisions are made not necessarily who gets credit.

    Let’s say you both had a good idea and leave it at that. It sounds fair to me.

  44. Frequent Voter

    I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).

    I wonder how much Freddie thinks this might save us.

    BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    I realize you may want recognition for an idea that you think you gave her, but what’s important here is what decisions are made not necessarily who gets credit.

    Let’s say you both had a good idea and leave it at that. It sounds fair to me.

  45. Rich Rifkin

    “I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).”

    That’s not a bad idea. I believe Oregon has something like that to accommodate some special needs voters (the blind, e.g.).

    “BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    Don’t worry. I like Freddie a lot. I think very highly of her. Also, I’ve worked as a poll worker in Davis, and so I’ve gone through training sessions with Freddie. She’s a pretty excellent public servant. We would be much better off if we had a lot more Freddie Oakleys in public office.

  46. Rich Rifkin

    “I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).”

    That’s not a bad idea. I believe Oregon has something like that to accommodate some special needs voters (the blind, e.g.).

    “BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    Don’t worry. I like Freddie a lot. I think very highly of her. Also, I’ve worked as a poll worker in Davis, and so I’ve gone through training sessions with Freddie. She’s a pretty excellent public servant. We would be much better off if we had a lot more Freddie Oakleys in public office.

  47. Rich Rifkin

    “I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).”

    That’s not a bad idea. I believe Oregon has something like that to accommodate some special needs voters (the blind, e.g.).

    “BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    Don’t worry. I like Freddie a lot. I think very highly of her. Also, I’ve worked as a poll worker in Davis, and so I’ve gone through training sessions with Freddie. She’s a pretty excellent public servant. We would be much better off if we had a lot more Freddie Oakleys in public office.

  48. Rich Rifkin

    “I like the idea of having a north Davis, west Davis, east Davis, central Davis, and south Davis location for people to vote. Five locations only. AND put the emphasis on VBM (vote by mail).”

    That’s not a bad idea. I believe Oregon has something like that to accommodate some special needs voters (the blind, e.g.).

    “BTW Rich – Take it easy on Freddie, she is doing a great job and your constant attack on her borders “hostility.”

    Don’t worry. I like Freddie a lot. I think very highly of her. Also, I’ve worked as a poll worker in Davis, and so I’ve gone through training sessions with Freddie. She’s a pretty excellent public servant. We would be much better off if we had a lot more Freddie Oakleys in public office.

  49. John Q. Public

    “The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.”

    Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public. Well we didn’t exactly get a great school superintendent in Murphy, now did we? Who was asleep at the switch there? Not the voters. And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions. City Staff who do not live in Davis, and so have no stake in what goes on here. The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!

    The more elected officials the better. At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle. Whereas we are stuck with some of the idiots who are City/County Staff forever or until they retire, which is much the same thing because their salaries are so darn high.

    “As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.”

    In my opinion the initiative process is one of the best things CA has going for it. I originally come from a state where there are no initiatives to vote on. When I came out here, it was one of my favorite things about CA – their pluckiness in being willing to go out on a limb and make substantive changes in policy. That is how we got Prop 13! Most folks think that one was a winner – though it needs a bit of tweaking now because circumstances have changed.

    The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.

    Nevertheless, the initiative process gives voters a chance to really make their voice heard/vote count. I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!! To me, it is my favorite part of the election process, and will bring me out to the polls faster than anything else on the ballot.

    Too often in elections, I can’t stand any of the candidates. I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.

  50. John Q. Public

    “The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.”

    Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public. Well we didn’t exactly get a great school superintendent in Murphy, now did we? Who was asleep at the switch there? Not the voters. And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions. City Staff who do not live in Davis, and so have no stake in what goes on here. The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!

    The more elected officials the better. At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle. Whereas we are stuck with some of the idiots who are City/County Staff forever or until they retire, which is much the same thing because their salaries are so darn high.

    “As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.”

    In my opinion the initiative process is one of the best things CA has going for it. I originally come from a state where there are no initiatives to vote on. When I came out here, it was one of my favorite things about CA – their pluckiness in being willing to go out on a limb and make substantive changes in policy. That is how we got Prop 13! Most folks think that one was a winner – though it needs a bit of tweaking now because circumstances have changed.

    The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.

    Nevertheless, the initiative process gives voters a chance to really make their voice heard/vote count. I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!! To me, it is my favorite part of the election process, and will bring me out to the polls faster than anything else on the ballot.

    Too often in elections, I can’t stand any of the candidates. I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.

  51. John Q. Public

    “The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.”

    Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public. Well we didn’t exactly get a great school superintendent in Murphy, now did we? Who was asleep at the switch there? Not the voters. And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions. City Staff who do not live in Davis, and so have no stake in what goes on here. The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!

    The more elected officials the better. At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle. Whereas we are stuck with some of the idiots who are City/County Staff forever or until they retire, which is much the same thing because their salaries are so darn high.

    “As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.”

    In my opinion the initiative process is one of the best things CA has going for it. I originally come from a state where there are no initiatives to vote on. When I came out here, it was one of my favorite things about CA – their pluckiness in being willing to go out on a limb and make substantive changes in policy. That is how we got Prop 13! Most folks think that one was a winner – though it needs a bit of tweaking now because circumstances have changed.

    The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.

    Nevertheless, the initiative process gives voters a chance to really make their voice heard/vote count. I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!! To me, it is my favorite part of the election process, and will bring me out to the polls faster than anything else on the ballot.

    Too often in elections, I can’t stand any of the candidates. I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.

  52. John Q. Public

    “The pertinent question is, who can pay more and better attention to how effectively the department executives are doing their jobs: the voters or the full-time supervisors? If you think it’s the voters, you and I cannot agree.”

    Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public. Well we didn’t exactly get a great school superintendent in Murphy, now did we? Who was asleep at the switch there? Not the voters. And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions. City Staff who do not live in Davis, and so have no stake in what goes on here. The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!

    The more elected officials the better. At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle. Whereas we are stuck with some of the idiots who are City/County Staff forever or until they retire, which is much the same thing because their salaries are so darn high.

    “As for state initiatives, I would get rid of them entirely.”

    In my opinion the initiative process is one of the best things CA has going for it. I originally come from a state where there are no initiatives to vote on. When I came out here, it was one of my favorite things about CA – their pluckiness in being willing to go out on a limb and make substantive changes in policy. That is how we got Prop 13! Most folks think that one was a winner – though it needs a bit of tweaking now because circumstances have changed.

    The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.

    Nevertheless, the initiative process gives voters a chance to really make their voice heard/vote count. I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!! To me, it is my favorite part of the election process, and will bring me out to the polls faster than anything else on the ballot.

    Too often in elections, I can’t stand any of the candidates. I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.

  53. Anonymous

    “The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!”

    It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.

  54. Anonymous

    “The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!”

    It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.

  55. Anonymous

    “The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!”

    It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.

  56. Anonymous

    “The same Staff that paid $50,000 to a consultant to determine kids like to play in parks!”

    It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.

  57. Brad

    “Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public.”

    People are too busy to pay close attention. I agree with Rich. I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.

    “And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions.”

    Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.

    “At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle.”

    If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.

    “The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.”

    The better solution would be to allow the elected legislators write legislation, deliberate it, and vote on it. Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.

    “I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!!”

    We all have to die eventually.

    “I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.”

    I think this is what Rifkin said. The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.

  58. Brad

    “Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public.”

    People are too busy to pay close attention. I agree with Rich. I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.

    “And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions.”

    Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.

    “At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle.”

    If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.

    “The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.”

    The better solution would be to allow the elected legislators write legislation, deliberate it, and vote on it. Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.

    “I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!!”

    We all have to die eventually.

    “I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.”

    I think this is what Rifkin said. The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.

  59. Brad

    “Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public.”

    People are too busy to pay close attention. I agree with Rich. I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.

    “And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions.”

    Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.

    “At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle.”

    If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.

    “The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.”

    The better solution would be to allow the elected legislators write legislation, deliberate it, and vote on it. Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.

    “I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!!”

    We all have to die eventually.

    “I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.”

    I think this is what Rifkin said. The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.

  60. Brad

    “Goodness, not a very high opinion of John Q. Public.”

    People are too busy to pay close attention. I agree with Rich. I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.

    “And look at some of our Davis City Staff members, who are running the city with no accountability for their actions.”

    Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.

    “At least citizens have some say by throwing the bums out the next election cycle.”

    If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.

    “The initiative process has its problems, and yes the proponents do not always get things right the first time around. And yes sometimes special interest groups with money inveigle their way into the process.”

    The better solution would be to allow the elected legislators write legislation, deliberate it, and vote on it. Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.

    “I would fight tooth and nail to keep the initiative process – TO THE DEATH!!!”

    We all have to die eventually.

    “I would run myself (I’ve been asked to several times) – but I just could not stomach all the political shennangans that go on. The dirty tricks that are rampant in politics today are driving good potential candidates away.”

    I think this is what Rifkin said. The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.

  61. Rebecca

    less poling places as Frequent voter mentioned might be a good idea to save money.

    There is something fundamental about being able to go to a polling place when voting.

    Becides it is nice to see the people at the poling place, a community thing.

  62. Rebecca

    less poling places as Frequent voter mentioned might be a good idea to save money.

    There is something fundamental about being able to go to a polling place when voting.

    Becides it is nice to see the people at the poling place, a community thing.

  63. Rebecca

    less poling places as Frequent voter mentioned might be a good idea to save money.

    There is something fundamental about being able to go to a polling place when voting.

    Becides it is nice to see the people at the poling place, a community thing.

  64. Rebecca

    less poling places as Frequent voter mentioned might be a good idea to save money.

    There is something fundamental about being able to go to a polling place when voting.

    Becides it is nice to see the people at the poling place, a community thing.

  65. Anonymous

    I’m late to this thread, but here goes:
    1) I wouldn’t say I was hostile when I talked to Rich a year ago. I just didn’t agree with him then. I think it might be difficult for some kinds of people to understand how other kinds of people can be persuaded by facts (rather than opinions) to change their minds.
    2) My proposal for all postal ballot elections does include “voting centers” (like the East, West, North & South Davis idea), early voting, and mobile polling places for the benefit of those with disabilities and those who wish to vote in person but have transportation problems.
    3) Election dates are dictated by law and are, within that law, at the discretion of governing boards. Oh boy…
    4) There is no “right” to cast a ballot at a polling place. There are only statutes about dates and consolidations. Those would have to be changed, too.
    5) Still, people are attached to the idea of neighborhood polling places — although they don’t use them much. And some of them are very powerful people who can kill a bill at the Speaker’s desk. And they have, and they will. I’m trying to work with them.

    Peace and love to everybody! Freddie

  66. Anonymous

    I’m late to this thread, but here goes:
    1) I wouldn’t say I was hostile when I talked to Rich a year ago. I just didn’t agree with him then. I think it might be difficult for some kinds of people to understand how other kinds of people can be persuaded by facts (rather than opinions) to change their minds.
    2) My proposal for all postal ballot elections does include “voting centers” (like the East, West, North & South Davis idea), early voting, and mobile polling places for the benefit of those with disabilities and those who wish to vote in person but have transportation problems.
    3) Election dates are dictated by law and are, within that law, at the discretion of governing boards. Oh boy…
    4) There is no “right” to cast a ballot at a polling place. There are only statutes about dates and consolidations. Those would have to be changed, too.
    5) Still, people are attached to the idea of neighborhood polling places — although they don’t use them much. And some of them are very powerful people who can kill a bill at the Speaker’s desk. And they have, and they will. I’m trying to work with them.

    Peace and love to everybody! Freddie

  67. Anonymous

    I’m late to this thread, but here goes:
    1) I wouldn’t say I was hostile when I talked to Rich a year ago. I just didn’t agree with him then. I think it might be difficult for some kinds of people to understand how other kinds of people can be persuaded by facts (rather than opinions) to change their minds.
    2) My proposal for all postal ballot elections does include “voting centers” (like the East, West, North & South Davis idea), early voting, and mobile polling places for the benefit of those with disabilities and those who wish to vote in person but have transportation problems.
    3) Election dates are dictated by law and are, within that law, at the discretion of governing boards. Oh boy…
    4) There is no “right” to cast a ballot at a polling place. There are only statutes about dates and consolidations. Those would have to be changed, too.
    5) Still, people are attached to the idea of neighborhood polling places — although they don’t use them much. And some of them are very powerful people who can kill a bill at the Speaker’s desk. And they have, and they will. I’m trying to work with them.

    Peace and love to everybody! Freddie

  68. Anonymous

    I’m late to this thread, but here goes:
    1) I wouldn’t say I was hostile when I talked to Rich a year ago. I just didn’t agree with him then. I think it might be difficult for some kinds of people to understand how other kinds of people can be persuaded by facts (rather than opinions) to change their minds.
    2) My proposal for all postal ballot elections does include “voting centers” (like the East, West, North & South Davis idea), early voting, and mobile polling places for the benefit of those with disabilities and those who wish to vote in person but have transportation problems.
    3) Election dates are dictated by law and are, within that law, at the discretion of governing boards. Oh boy…
    4) There is no “right” to cast a ballot at a polling place. There are only statutes about dates and consolidations. Those would have to be changed, too.
    5) Still, people are attached to the idea of neighborhood polling places — although they don’t use them much. And some of them are very powerful people who can kill a bill at the Speaker’s desk. And they have, and they will. I’m trying to work with them.

    Peace and love to everybody! Freddie

  69. john q. public

    “The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.”

    Well, we didn’t exactly get a well qualified school superintendent, now did we? And he was APPOINTED by the school board, not elected. And according to the school board we could not get rid of this bum after four years – we had to keep him for five, pay out his five year contract, and watch him NOT WORK.

    “Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.”

    I’ll trust the voters over politicians to vote for the right legislation any day of the week!

    “If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.”

    But it is doubtful that the governor would, since most of the time elected officials pick friends to posts, not necessarily qualified individuals. Nepotism is rampant in political circles.

    “Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.”

    Yes, city staff are answerable to another city staffer. They protect each other, and stay for far longer than four years even when incompetent. If you don’t know who I mean on the city staff, then you need to follow local politics more closely. Try starting with staff from Parks and Recreation.

    “It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.”

    Now where do you think the City Council got the wisdom for this expenditure? Do you honestly think the City Council decided to spend $75k on such a park survey? Seems to me staff from Parks & Rec insisted they had to have the survey done because they were incapable of doing the work themselves – because it was just too taxing (pardon the pun), their time was so limited, etc, etc, etc. – over the objection of some on the City Council.

    “I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.”

    Well, most politicians have one hand in their pocket and the other one in yours. They can’t name a tax increase bill they don’t like. I’ll take my chances with John Q. Public, thank you very much!

  70. john q. public

    “The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.”

    Well, we didn’t exactly get a well qualified school superintendent, now did we? And he was APPOINTED by the school board, not elected. And according to the school board we could not get rid of this bum after four years – we had to keep him for five, pay out his five year contract, and watch him NOT WORK.

    “Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.”

    I’ll trust the voters over politicians to vote for the right legislation any day of the week!

    “If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.”

    But it is doubtful that the governor would, since most of the time elected officials pick friends to posts, not necessarily qualified individuals. Nepotism is rampant in political circles.

    “Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.”

    Yes, city staff are answerable to another city staffer. They protect each other, and stay for far longer than four years even when incompetent. If you don’t know who I mean on the city staff, then you need to follow local politics more closely. Try starting with staff from Parks and Recreation.

    “It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.”

    Now where do you think the City Council got the wisdom for this expenditure? Do you honestly think the City Council decided to spend $75k on such a park survey? Seems to me staff from Parks & Rec insisted they had to have the survey done because they were incapable of doing the work themselves – because it was just too taxing (pardon the pun), their time was so limited, etc, etc, etc. – over the objection of some on the City Council.

    “I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.”

    Well, most politicians have one hand in their pocket and the other one in yours. They can’t name a tax increase bill they don’t like. I’ll take my chances with John Q. Public, thank you very much!

  71. john q. public

    “The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.”

    Well, we didn’t exactly get a well qualified school superintendent, now did we? And he was APPOINTED by the school board, not elected. And according to the school board we could not get rid of this bum after four years – we had to keep him for five, pay out his five year contract, and watch him NOT WORK.

    “Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.”

    I’ll trust the voters over politicians to vote for the right legislation any day of the week!

    “If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.”

    But it is doubtful that the governor would, since most of the time elected officials pick friends to posts, not necessarily qualified individuals. Nepotism is rampant in political circles.

    “Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.”

    Yes, city staff are answerable to another city staffer. They protect each other, and stay for far longer than four years even when incompetent. If you don’t know who I mean on the city staff, then you need to follow local politics more closely. Try starting with staff from Parks and Recreation.

    “It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.”

    Now where do you think the City Council got the wisdom for this expenditure? Do you honestly think the City Council decided to spend $75k on such a park survey? Seems to me staff from Parks & Rec insisted they had to have the survey done because they were incapable of doing the work themselves – because it was just too taxing (pardon the pun), their time was so limited, etc, etc, etc. – over the objection of some on the City Council.

    “I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.”

    Well, most politicians have one hand in their pocket and the other one in yours. They can’t name a tax increase bill they don’t like. I’ll take my chances with John Q. Public, thank you very much!

  72. john q. public

    “The best candidates for many jobs, such as sheriff or auditor, won’t run, because they aren’t politicians. That’s why they should be appointed and supervised by the supervisors.”

    Well, we didn’t exactly get a well qualified school superintendent, now did we? And he was APPOINTED by the school board, not elected. And according to the school board we could not get rid of this bum after four years – we had to keep him for five, pay out his five year contract, and watch him NOT WORK.

    “Ballot initiatives are written to favor one special interest or another, not the general welfare.”

    I’ll trust the voters over politicians to vote for the right legislation any day of the week!

    “If a bum is elected, the job is his for four years. If the governor got to pick his own cabinet, he could remove an incompetent subordinate in a day.”

    But it is doubtful that the governor would, since most of the time elected officials pick friends to posts, not necessarily qualified individuals. Nepotism is rampant in political circles.

    “Who specifically are you talking about? All of the city’s employees have someone to answer to.”

    Yes, city staff are answerable to another city staffer. They protect each other, and stay for far longer than four years even when incompetent. If you don’t know who I mean on the city staff, then you need to follow local politics more closely. Try starting with staff from Parks and Recreation.

    “It was $75,000 and staff did not make that decision. It was voted on by the city council.”

    Now where do you think the City Council got the wisdom for this expenditure? Do you honestly think the City Council decided to spend $75k on such a park survey? Seems to me staff from Parks & Rec insisted they had to have the survey done because they were incapable of doing the work themselves – because it was just too taxing (pardon the pun), their time was so limited, etc, etc, etc. – over the objection of some on the City Council.

    “I bet only 1 in 100 people in Davis could name the auditor, off the top of their heads.”

    Well, most politicians have one hand in their pocket and the other one in yours. They can’t name a tax increase bill they don’t like. I’ll take my chances with John Q. Public, thank you very much!

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