Commentary: Low Turnout Again Leads to Talk of Change

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Another election, more low turnout, and more talk about changing the way we vote. County Clerk Freddie Oakley is talking once again about all-mail-ballot elections. With all due respect to the County Clerk, I could not disagree more.

One of things we noticed as we talked to voters over the last few months, some did not realize that there was an election, however, most were more focused on the Presidential Election than local politics. In a lot of ways that is a shame because local politics impacts people’s lives more directly than national politics.

Of the big issues on the national front, only really gas prices impact people as much as the conditions of roadways, housing availability, schools, etc. And the president is not going to have as much of an immediate effect on gas prices as the city council does on development and growth or the school board does on the local schools. The war effects us on the margins. The economy impacts us more but again, how much does the President impact the economy directly? Moreover given local variations, you can argue that the city council, county board of supervisors, and even your state reps have a greater impact over your personal economy than the President.

Regardless, this is not a blog about the economy or local politics, but rather the interest of the public in local politics. The valid point made is that the amount of elections this year is taxing our system. Freddie Oakley’s solution is the all-mail ballot.

I would look first at electoral consolidation. But before we get there, we need to understand that something happened this year that was somewhat unique. California had two primaries by specific design. We had the February Presidential Primary and then our normal June Primary.

This was not done by accident either. You see the legislature tried to put a term limits law on the ballot to extend their own terms in their president branch of the state legislature. If that proposition had passed in February, state lawmakers could have run for reelection in June. The result however was two separate primaries that watered down the vote and drove up the expenses. Did Fabian Nunez reimburse local counties and election officials for his self-serving and transparent plan that was handily rejected by the voters? Of course not.

Unique circumstances aside, where I grew in San Luis Obispo, almost 20 years ago they passed a local measure that consolidated the ballots. It put city elections, school board elections, and county elections on the same ballot as either the primary or general elections.

The result is that they have two elections except under special circumstances and the school board and city council elections occur with the general elections. From a fiscal standpoint it makes sense. You get a larger turnout. People tend to be less focused on the local elections, but then again, how much different is that from now?

It seems to work elsewhere, perhaps we ought to look into it here before we go to an a mail-in election where the people still are not paying much attention.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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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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220 thoughts on “Commentary: Low Turnout Again Leads to Talk of Change”

  1. Anonymous

    Great ideas, DPD.
    I too was dismayed to read about Freddie Oakley’s ideas in yesterday’s Enterprise. The way they do it in San Luis Obispo makes good sense.
    Because the emphasis should be on giving voters as many options as possible to get out and vote. Not less, as in what Oakley wants to do, which is elimante polling places, which are the bedrock, bottom line, of our democracy.
    If Oakley is worried about the cost of keeping polling places open, let her do some research on how San Luis Obispo does it.
    –Brian Orr

  2. Anonymous

    Great ideas, DPD.
    I too was dismayed to read about Freddie Oakley’s ideas in yesterday’s Enterprise. The way they do it in San Luis Obispo makes good sense.
    Because the emphasis should be on giving voters as many options as possible to get out and vote. Not less, as in what Oakley wants to do, which is elimante polling places, which are the bedrock, bottom line, of our democracy.
    If Oakley is worried about the cost of keeping polling places open, let her do some research on how San Luis Obispo does it.
    –Brian Orr

  3. Anonymous

    Great ideas, DPD.
    I too was dismayed to read about Freddie Oakley’s ideas in yesterday’s Enterprise. The way they do it in San Luis Obispo makes good sense.
    Because the emphasis should be on giving voters as many options as possible to get out and vote. Not less, as in what Oakley wants to do, which is elimante polling places, which are the bedrock, bottom line, of our democracy.
    If Oakley is worried about the cost of keeping polling places open, let her do some research on how San Luis Obispo does it.
    –Brian Orr

  4. Anonymous

    Great ideas, DPD.
    I too was dismayed to read about Freddie Oakley’s ideas in yesterday’s Enterprise. The way they do it in San Luis Obispo makes good sense.
    Because the emphasis should be on giving voters as many options as possible to get out and vote. Not less, as in what Oakley wants to do, which is elimante polling places, which are the bedrock, bottom line, of our democracy.
    If Oakley is worried about the cost of keeping polling places open, let her do some research on how San Luis Obispo does it.
    –Brian Orr

  5. Anonymous

    The concept of one day, workday voting makes no sense at all – never has – but extending time by early voting does, as does consolidation.

  6. Anonymous

    The concept of one day, workday voting makes no sense at all – never has – but extending time by early voting does, as does consolidation.

  7. Anonymous

    The concept of one day, workday voting makes no sense at all – never has – but extending time by early voting does, as does consolidation.

  8. Anonymous

    The concept of one day, workday voting makes no sense at all – never has – but extending time by early voting does, as does consolidation.

  9. Anonymous

    The school board elections are basically little special elections. The turnout is almost always low, and it gives disproportionate power to the “insiders”, including the teachers union and the PTAs. I doubt any of them are going to want the masses who vote in the general elections to chose the board, ballot measures, etc.

  10. Anonymous

    The school board elections are basically little special elections. The turnout is almost always low, and it gives disproportionate power to the “insiders”, including the teachers union and the PTAs. I doubt any of them are going to want the masses who vote in the general elections to chose the board, ballot measures, etc.

  11. Anonymous

    The school board elections are basically little special elections. The turnout is almost always low, and it gives disproportionate power to the “insiders”, including the teachers union and the PTAs. I doubt any of them are going to want the masses who vote in the general elections to chose the board, ballot measures, etc.

  12. Anonymous

    The school board elections are basically little special elections. The turnout is almost always low, and it gives disproportionate power to the “insiders”, including the teachers union and the PTAs. I doubt any of them are going to want the masses who vote in the general elections to chose the board, ballot measures, etc.

  13. Don Shor

    “The war effects us on the margins.”
    Speak for yourself.

    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense; I’m not sure why you’ve framed this as a dichotomy.

    Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.

    There is no reason to continue the present system. Polling places don’t increase voter awareness of an election, they don’t lead to better-informed voters, they don’t enhance turnout. The only reason to retain them is nostalgia.

  14. Don Shor

    “The war effects us on the margins.”
    Speak for yourself.

    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense; I’m not sure why you’ve framed this as a dichotomy.

    Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.

    There is no reason to continue the present system. Polling places don’t increase voter awareness of an election, they don’t lead to better-informed voters, they don’t enhance turnout. The only reason to retain them is nostalgia.

  15. Don Shor

    “The war effects us on the margins.”
    Speak for yourself.

    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense; I’m not sure why you’ve framed this as a dichotomy.

    Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.

    There is no reason to continue the present system. Polling places don’t increase voter awareness of an election, they don’t lead to better-informed voters, they don’t enhance turnout. The only reason to retain them is nostalgia.

  16. Don Shor

    “The war effects us on the margins.”
    Speak for yourself.

    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense; I’m not sure why you’ve framed this as a dichotomy.

    Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.

    There is no reason to continue the present system. Polling places don’t increase voter awareness of an election, they don’t lead to better-informed voters, they don’t enhance turnout. The only reason to retain them is nostalgia.

  17. populist

    Consolidating elections has another strong point in its favor. Now, when taxing measures must be put before the voters, an overt and cynical strategy is to offer them separately on different ballots; this dismissive and cynical concept relies on the supposed inability of the voter to “remember” from one ballot to the next and TOTAL up and fully assess the financial impacts of multiple taxing measures.
    … a death by a thousand cuts instead of one fatal stroke.

  18. populist

    Consolidating elections has another strong point in its favor. Now, when taxing measures must be put before the voters, an overt and cynical strategy is to offer them separately on different ballots; this dismissive and cynical concept relies on the supposed inability of the voter to “remember” from one ballot to the next and TOTAL up and fully assess the financial impacts of multiple taxing measures.
    … a death by a thousand cuts instead of one fatal stroke.

  19. populist

    Consolidating elections has another strong point in its favor. Now, when taxing measures must be put before the voters, an overt and cynical strategy is to offer them separately on different ballots; this dismissive and cynical concept relies on the supposed inability of the voter to “remember” from one ballot to the next and TOTAL up and fully assess the financial impacts of multiple taxing measures.
    … a death by a thousand cuts instead of one fatal stroke.

  20. populist

    Consolidating elections has another strong point in its favor. Now, when taxing measures must be put before the voters, an overt and cynical strategy is to offer them separately on different ballots; this dismissive and cynical concept relies on the supposed inability of the voter to “remember” from one ballot to the next and TOTAL up and fully assess the financial impacts of multiple taxing measures.
    … a death by a thousand cuts instead of one fatal stroke.

  21. Davisite

    Going to the polls is one of the few last public acts of COMMUNITY in Davis as its character is threatened by the civically isolating nature of
    sprawling bed-room residential developments. It is well worth saving.

  22. Davisite

    Going to the polls is one of the few last public acts of COMMUNITY in Davis as its character is threatened by the civically isolating nature of
    sprawling bed-room residential developments. It is well worth saving.

  23. Davisite

    Going to the polls is one of the few last public acts of COMMUNITY in Davis as its character is threatened by the civically isolating nature of
    sprawling bed-room residential developments. It is well worth saving.

  24. Davisite

    Going to the polls is one of the few last public acts of COMMUNITY in Davis as its character is threatened by the civically isolating nature of
    sprawling bed-room residential developments. It is well worth saving.

  25. Don Shor

    What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.

    Going to forums, canvassing door-to-door, writing letters to the editor, debating on blogs: that is community. Voting in person has no particular value. The money spent on in-person voting could be spent on something of greater value; county governments are broke, and this is a needless expense.

  26. Don Shor

    What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.

    Going to forums, canvassing door-to-door, writing letters to the editor, debating on blogs: that is community. Voting in person has no particular value. The money spent on in-person voting could be spent on something of greater value; county governments are broke, and this is a needless expense.

  27. Don Shor

    What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.

    Going to forums, canvassing door-to-door, writing letters to the editor, debating on blogs: that is community. Voting in person has no particular value. The money spent on in-person voting could be spent on something of greater value; county governments are broke, and this is a needless expense.

  28. Don Shor

    What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.

    Going to forums, canvassing door-to-door, writing letters to the editor, debating on blogs: that is community. Voting in person has no particular value. The money spent on in-person voting could be spent on something of greater value; county governments are broke, and this is a needless expense.

  29. Mike Adams

    I agree with Don Shor on this. And given the grousing that went on regarding the possibility of a parcel tax, I think that we need to look at increasing efficiency of the process and preserve scarce public dollars for necessary services.

  30. Mike Adams

    I agree with Don Shor on this. And given the grousing that went on regarding the possibility of a parcel tax, I think that we need to look at increasing efficiency of the process and preserve scarce public dollars for necessary services.

  31. Mike Adams

    I agree with Don Shor on this. And given the grousing that went on regarding the possibility of a parcel tax, I think that we need to look at increasing efficiency of the process and preserve scarce public dollars for necessary services.

  32. Mike Adams

    I agree with Don Shor on this. And given the grousing that went on regarding the possibility of a parcel tax, I think that we need to look at increasing efficiency of the process and preserve scarce public dollars for necessary services.

  33. Matt Rexroad

    David:

    It is not an either or situation.

    Consolidation is a good idea but so is all mail voting. Oregon has been doing it for years.

    I think Freddie is right on this issue.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  34. Matt Rexroad

    David:

    It is not an either or situation.

    Consolidation is a good idea but so is all mail voting. Oregon has been doing it for years.

    I think Freddie is right on this issue.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  35. Matt Rexroad

    David:

    It is not an either or situation.

    Consolidation is a good idea but so is all mail voting. Oregon has been doing it for years.

    I think Freddie is right on this issue.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  36. Matt Rexroad

    David:

    It is not an either or situation.

    Consolidation is a good idea but so is all mail voting. Oregon has been doing it for years.

    I think Freddie is right on this issue.

    Matt Rexroad
    662-5184

  37. Rich Rifkin

    “Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.”

    I agree Don.

    I’m also heartened to know that Freddie Oakley has turned 180 degrees on this issue. She was, back when I wrote my column in favor of going to all mail-in ballots, a strong opponent.

    The idea that going to the polls in person is an exercise in democracy, while not going in person is undemocratic is wrong, in my opinion. Oregonians have MUCH HIGHER voter participation BECAUSE they have all mail-in elections. It not only saves money, it results in more people voting. That is far more democratic.

    Consolidating elections is also a good idea. In my opinion, we should have elections ONLY in even numbered years and we should have a relatively late primary, such as the first week of June.* That way voters could concentrate on those two votes; and there would not be such a lengthy campaign between the primary and general.

    * I would prefer even later than that, such as the first week of August, so that the connection between the primary and general was stronger, but for two reasons: 1) later would exclude the students and faculty who leave Davis in mid-June for the summer; and 2) because the national political conventions take place in August, early June is about as late as possible to have a presidential primary.

  38. Rich Rifkin

    “Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.”

    I agree Don.

    I’m also heartened to know that Freddie Oakley has turned 180 degrees on this issue. She was, back when I wrote my column in favor of going to all mail-in ballots, a strong opponent.

    The idea that going to the polls in person is an exercise in democracy, while not going in person is undemocratic is wrong, in my opinion. Oregonians have MUCH HIGHER voter participation BECAUSE they have all mail-in elections. It not only saves money, it results in more people voting. That is far more democratic.

    Consolidating elections is also a good idea. In my opinion, we should have elections ONLY in even numbered years and we should have a relatively late primary, such as the first week of June.* That way voters could concentrate on those two votes; and there would not be such a lengthy campaign between the primary and general.

    * I would prefer even later than that, such as the first week of August, so that the connection between the primary and general was stronger, but for two reasons: 1) later would exclude the students and faculty who leave Davis in mid-June for the summer; and 2) because the national political conventions take place in August, early June is about as late as possible to have a presidential primary.

  39. Rich Rifkin

    “Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.”

    I agree Don.

    I’m also heartened to know that Freddie Oakley has turned 180 degrees on this issue. She was, back when I wrote my column in favor of going to all mail-in ballots, a strong opponent.

    The idea that going to the polls in person is an exercise in democracy, while not going in person is undemocratic is wrong, in my opinion. Oregonians have MUCH HIGHER voter participation BECAUSE they have all mail-in elections. It not only saves money, it results in more people voting. That is far more democratic.

    Consolidating elections is also a good idea. In my opinion, we should have elections ONLY in even numbered years and we should have a relatively late primary, such as the first week of June.* That way voters could concentrate on those two votes; and there would not be such a lengthy campaign between the primary and general.

    * I would prefer even later than that, such as the first week of August, so that the connection between the primary and general was stronger, but for two reasons: 1) later would exclude the students and faculty who leave Davis in mid-June for the summer; and 2) because the national political conventions take place in August, early June is about as late as possible to have a presidential primary.

  40. Rich Rifkin

    “Mail-in ballots diminish the impact of last-minute hit pieces, make it easier for people to vote, and increase participation. Look at Oregon: Participation is high. Vote-by-mail leaves a paper trail, reduces costs by 30%, and allows people to vote at home, take their time, show their children, and not have to try to fit a trip to the polling place into their work schedules.”

    I agree Don.

    I’m also heartened to know that Freddie Oakley has turned 180 degrees on this issue. She was, back when I wrote my column in favor of going to all mail-in ballots, a strong opponent.

    The idea that going to the polls in person is an exercise in democracy, while not going in person is undemocratic is wrong, in my opinion. Oregonians have MUCH HIGHER voter participation BECAUSE they have all mail-in elections. It not only saves money, it results in more people voting. That is far more democratic.

    Consolidating elections is also a good idea. In my opinion, we should have elections ONLY in even numbered years and we should have a relatively late primary, such as the first week of June.* That way voters could concentrate on those two votes; and there would not be such a lengthy campaign between the primary and general.

    * I would prefer even later than that, such as the first week of August, so that the connection between the primary and general was stronger, but for two reasons: 1) later would exclude the students and faculty who leave Davis in mid-June for the summer; and 2) because the national political conventions take place in August, early June is about as late as possible to have a presidential primary.

  41. Sue Greenwald

    One of the most common questions I received from voters was “I can’t find my absentee ballot, what do I do?” I was able to tell them that they could vote anyway.

    I could see abandoning polling places if there was a way for people to submit provisional ballots on-line, but there would have to be a very easy procedure for people who misplace their absentee ballots.

  42. Sue Greenwald

    One of the most common questions I received from voters was “I can’t find my absentee ballot, what do I do?” I was able to tell them that they could vote anyway.

    I could see abandoning polling places if there was a way for people to submit provisional ballots on-line, but there would have to be a very easy procedure for people who misplace their absentee ballots.

  43. Sue Greenwald

    One of the most common questions I received from voters was “I can’t find my absentee ballot, what do I do?” I was able to tell them that they could vote anyway.

    I could see abandoning polling places if there was a way for people to submit provisional ballots on-line, but there would have to be a very easy procedure for people who misplace their absentee ballots.

  44. Sue Greenwald

    One of the most common questions I received from voters was “I can’t find my absentee ballot, what do I do?” I was able to tell them that they could vote anyway.

    I could see abandoning polling places if there was a way for people to submit provisional ballots on-line, but there would have to be a very easy procedure for people who misplace their absentee ballots.

  45. Don Shor

    From the LWV:

    If you lose your absentee ballot

    * You can get another one. Call your County Elections Official for information.
    * You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day.

    I think they have an early voting location at the Senior Center each election.

  46. Don Shor

    From the LWV:

    If you lose your absentee ballot

    * You can get another one. Call your County Elections Official for information.
    * You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day.

    I think they have an early voting location at the Senior Center each election.

  47. Don Shor

    From the LWV:

    If you lose your absentee ballot

    * You can get another one. Call your County Elections Official for information.
    * You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day.

    I think they have an early voting location at the Senior Center each election.

  48. Don Shor

    From the LWV:

    If you lose your absentee ballot

    * You can get another one. Call your County Elections Official for information.
    * You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day.

    I think they have an early voting location at the Senior Center each election.

  49. Anonymous

    Come on we all know the real reason to stick with regular elections is so people can go to their polling place and get the coveted “I Voted” sticker. so unless they are going to start mailing those stickers to voters after their mail-in ballots are received I say we stick with finding 10 minutes to go out and vote!

  50. Anonymous

    Come on we all know the real reason to stick with regular elections is so people can go to their polling place and get the coveted “I Voted” sticker. so unless they are going to start mailing those stickers to voters after their mail-in ballots are received I say we stick with finding 10 minutes to go out and vote!

  51. Anonymous

    Come on we all know the real reason to stick with regular elections is so people can go to their polling place and get the coveted “I Voted” sticker. so unless they are going to start mailing those stickers to voters after their mail-in ballots are received I say we stick with finding 10 minutes to go out and vote!

  52. Anonymous

    Come on we all know the real reason to stick with regular elections is so people can go to their polling place and get the coveted “I Voted” sticker. so unless they are going to start mailing those stickers to voters after their mail-in ballots are received I say we stick with finding 10 minutes to go out and vote!

  53. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:
    “What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.”

    So you had a bland, meaningless bureaucratic experience when you went to the polling place. Why do you assume that everybody’s trip to the polling place is exactly the same as yours?
    Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line, or just saying hello to friends…experiences which enhance community.

  54. saving money

    I enjoy going to the polls, but that’s really just for fun. If it saves 30% of the cost to have it vote by mail, plus turnout would be higher, it’s hard to justify keeping the current system.

    Another way to save money if they don’t go to mail voting is to have fewer polling places. In some other parts of the country the polls cover a much larger geographic area. You would likely need fewer poll workers (who I would assume are a substantial fraction of the cost, since they are paid $100-150 for the day) if there were fewer polling places.

  55. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:
    “What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.”

    So you had a bland, meaningless bureaucratic experience when you went to the polling place. Why do you assume that everybody’s trip to the polling place is exactly the same as yours?
    Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line, or just saying hello to friends…experiences which enhance community.

  56. saving money

    I enjoy going to the polls, but that’s really just for fun. If it saves 30% of the cost to have it vote by mail, plus turnout would be higher, it’s hard to justify keeping the current system.

    Another way to save money if they don’t go to mail voting is to have fewer polling places. In some other parts of the country the polls cover a much larger geographic area. You would likely need fewer poll workers (who I would assume are a substantial fraction of the cost, since they are paid $100-150 for the day) if there were fewer polling places.

  57. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:
    “What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.”

    So you had a bland, meaningless bureaucratic experience when you went to the polling place. Why do you assume that everybody’s trip to the polling place is exactly the same as yours?
    Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line, or just saying hello to friends…experiences which enhance community.

  58. saving money

    I enjoy going to the polls, but that’s really just for fun. If it saves 30% of the cost to have it vote by mail, plus turnout would be higher, it’s hard to justify keeping the current system.

    Another way to save money if they don’t go to mail voting is to have fewer polling places. In some other parts of the country the polls cover a much larger geographic area. You would likely need fewer poll workers (who I would assume are a substantial fraction of the cost, since they are paid $100-150 for the day) if there were fewer polling places.

  59. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:
    “What exactly is it about going to a polling place that you find so supportive of “community”? On the few times I’ve done it (I’ve been on permanent absentee status for years), I’ve walked in, stood in line, exchanged a few words with the polling station volunteers, voted, and then left.”

    So you had a bland, meaningless bureaucratic experience when you went to the polling place. Why do you assume that everybody’s trip to the polling place is exactly the same as yours?
    Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line, or just saying hello to friends…experiences which enhance community.

  60. saving money

    I enjoy going to the polls, but that’s really just for fun. If it saves 30% of the cost to have it vote by mail, plus turnout would be higher, it’s hard to justify keeping the current system.

    Another way to save money if they don’t go to mail voting is to have fewer polling places. In some other parts of the country the polls cover a much larger geographic area. You would likely need fewer poll workers (who I would assume are a substantial fraction of the cost, since they are paid $100-150 for the day) if there were fewer polling places.

  61. Rich Rifkin

    “Save the money for other more worthwhile programs that are being cut at the county level — social services, etc.”

    I wish our county was spending its money on social services, particularly for the poor. Of course, that’s a small part of the budget. The real money (just like with the city of Davis) is going to pay the high salaries and early lucrative retirements of judges, lawyers, department heads and sheriff’s deputies. It is my understanding that the county deputies, too, get 3%@50, the typical rip-off of the taxpayers.

    I’d love to hear from a healthy, retired 50 year old cop or firefighter who could explain to me why he could no longer do his job.

  62. Rich Rifkin

    “Save the money for other more worthwhile programs that are being cut at the county level — social services, etc.”

    I wish our county was spending its money on social services, particularly for the poor. Of course, that’s a small part of the budget. The real money (just like with the city of Davis) is going to pay the high salaries and early lucrative retirements of judges, lawyers, department heads and sheriff’s deputies. It is my understanding that the county deputies, too, get 3%@50, the typical rip-off of the taxpayers.

    I’d love to hear from a healthy, retired 50 year old cop or firefighter who could explain to me why he could no longer do his job.

  63. Rich Rifkin

    “Save the money for other more worthwhile programs that are being cut at the county level — social services, etc.”

    I wish our county was spending its money on social services, particularly for the poor. Of course, that’s a small part of the budget. The real money (just like with the city of Davis) is going to pay the high salaries and early lucrative retirements of judges, lawyers, department heads and sheriff’s deputies. It is my understanding that the county deputies, too, get 3%@50, the typical rip-off of the taxpayers.

    I’d love to hear from a healthy, retired 50 year old cop or firefighter who could explain to me why he could no longer do his job.

  64. Rich Rifkin

    “Save the money for other more worthwhile programs that are being cut at the county level — social services, etc.”

    I wish our county was spending its money on social services, particularly for the poor. Of course, that’s a small part of the budget. The real money (just like with the city of Davis) is going to pay the high salaries and early lucrative retirements of judges, lawyers, department heads and sheriff’s deputies. It is my understanding that the county deputies, too, get 3%@50, the typical rip-off of the taxpayers.

    I’d love to hear from a healthy, retired 50 year old cop or firefighter who could explain to me why he could no longer do his job.

  65. Cecilia

    While precinct walking I spoke with voters who had absentee ballots and thought they could still mail them in even though it was Monday the day before the election. I told them to walk the AB in. This happened a couple of times on the Saturday before election day too.

    This leads me to believe that their needs to be an educational component which helps voters to understand that after a certain date they should walk their ballot in or risk not having it counted.

    I think the AB states this, but people probably overlook it.

  66. Cecilia

    While precinct walking I spoke with voters who had absentee ballots and thought they could still mail them in even though it was Monday the day before the election. I told them to walk the AB in. This happened a couple of times on the Saturday before election day too.

    This leads me to believe that their needs to be an educational component which helps voters to understand that after a certain date they should walk their ballot in or risk not having it counted.

    I think the AB states this, but people probably overlook it.

  67. Cecilia

    While precinct walking I spoke with voters who had absentee ballots and thought they could still mail them in even though it was Monday the day before the election. I told them to walk the AB in. This happened a couple of times on the Saturday before election day too.

    This leads me to believe that their needs to be an educational component which helps voters to understand that after a certain date they should walk their ballot in or risk not having it counted.

    I think the AB states this, but people probably overlook it.

  68. Cecilia

    While precinct walking I spoke with voters who had absentee ballots and thought they could still mail them in even though it was Monday the day before the election. I told them to walk the AB in. This happened a couple of times on the Saturday before election day too.

    This leads me to believe that their needs to be an educational component which helps voters to understand that after a certain date they should walk their ballot in or risk not having it counted.

    I think the AB states this, but people probably overlook it.

  69. Absentee Voter

    I love Freddie Oakley, but am very perturbed at her less than stellar view of voters. Did she ever stop to think that the low voter turnout had more to do with a lack of good candidates? Not one candidate especially stood out (no offense meant to Cecelia), and most had some sort of undesirable political baggage from their past. I heard over and over from many voters that they could not bring themselves to vote for so-and-so for one reason or another, which left them with virtually no choice.

    A case in point is the City Council election. If you did not want to vote for the incumbents, all of whom had their serious drawbacks, you were left to vote for three inexperienced unknowns. Not much of a choice. In the Yamada/Cabaldon debacle, neither one came off looking very good. Many of us were not familiar with Provenza’s opponents, yet were not that happy with Jim’s propensity for sitting on the fence, which has been noted by many.

    Consolidation of elections makes good sense. I am an absentee voter, and do not make my choice until the day of the election. I want every piece of info I can get my hands on before poking out my chad or coloring in my ballot. Then I go to my nearest polling place and drop my absentee ballot off. It gives me the flexibility of mailing in the absentee ballot if I can’t make it to a polling place on the designated day, or wait until the last minute to make my choice.

    But never assume I don’t know there is an election or some other disrespectful assumption. Most voters know exactly what they are doing, don’t much like politicians, and are fed up with what is going on in our gov’t at all levels.

    I heartily agree local elections are probably more important than nat’l elections, and a vote counts more at the local level. Voting is a civic duty, but it becomes hard to make a choice when there don’t seem to be good solid candidates to choose from.

  70. Absentee Voter

    I love Freddie Oakley, but am very perturbed at her less than stellar view of voters. Did she ever stop to think that the low voter turnout had more to do with a lack of good candidates? Not one candidate especially stood out (no offense meant to Cecelia), and most had some sort of undesirable political baggage from their past. I heard over and over from many voters that they could not bring themselves to vote for so-and-so for one reason or another, which left them with virtually no choice.

    A case in point is the City Council election. If you did not want to vote for the incumbents, all of whom had their serious drawbacks, you were left to vote for three inexperienced unknowns. Not much of a choice. In the Yamada/Cabaldon debacle, neither one came off looking very good. Many of us were not familiar with Provenza’s opponents, yet were not that happy with Jim’s propensity for sitting on the fence, which has been noted by many.

    Consolidation of elections makes good sense. I am an absentee voter, and do not make my choice until the day of the election. I want every piece of info I can get my hands on before poking out my chad or coloring in my ballot. Then I go to my nearest polling place and drop my absentee ballot off. It gives me the flexibility of mailing in the absentee ballot if I can’t make it to a polling place on the designated day, or wait until the last minute to make my choice.

    But never assume I don’t know there is an election or some other disrespectful assumption. Most voters know exactly what they are doing, don’t much like politicians, and are fed up with what is going on in our gov’t at all levels.

    I heartily agree local elections are probably more important than nat’l elections, and a vote counts more at the local level. Voting is a civic duty, but it becomes hard to make a choice when there don’t seem to be good solid candidates to choose from.

  71. Absentee Voter

    I love Freddie Oakley, but am very perturbed at her less than stellar view of voters. Did she ever stop to think that the low voter turnout had more to do with a lack of good candidates? Not one candidate especially stood out (no offense meant to Cecelia), and most had some sort of undesirable political baggage from their past. I heard over and over from many voters that they could not bring themselves to vote for so-and-so for one reason or another, which left them with virtually no choice.

    A case in point is the City Council election. If you did not want to vote for the incumbents, all of whom had their serious drawbacks, you were left to vote for three inexperienced unknowns. Not much of a choice. In the Yamada/Cabaldon debacle, neither one came off looking very good. Many of us were not familiar with Provenza’s opponents, yet were not that happy with Jim’s propensity for sitting on the fence, which has been noted by many.

    Consolidation of elections makes good sense. I am an absentee voter, and do not make my choice until the day of the election. I want every piece of info I can get my hands on before poking out my chad or coloring in my ballot. Then I go to my nearest polling place and drop my absentee ballot off. It gives me the flexibility of mailing in the absentee ballot if I can’t make it to a polling place on the designated day, or wait until the last minute to make my choice.

    But never assume I don’t know there is an election or some other disrespectful assumption. Most voters know exactly what they are doing, don’t much like politicians, and are fed up with what is going on in our gov’t at all levels.

    I heartily agree local elections are probably more important than nat’l elections, and a vote counts more at the local level. Voting is a civic duty, but it becomes hard to make a choice when there don’t seem to be good solid candidates to choose from.

  72. Absentee Voter

    I love Freddie Oakley, but am very perturbed at her less than stellar view of voters. Did she ever stop to think that the low voter turnout had more to do with a lack of good candidates? Not one candidate especially stood out (no offense meant to Cecelia), and most had some sort of undesirable political baggage from their past. I heard over and over from many voters that they could not bring themselves to vote for so-and-so for one reason or another, which left them with virtually no choice.

    A case in point is the City Council election. If you did not want to vote for the incumbents, all of whom had their serious drawbacks, you were left to vote for three inexperienced unknowns. Not much of a choice. In the Yamada/Cabaldon debacle, neither one came off looking very good. Many of us were not familiar with Provenza’s opponents, yet were not that happy with Jim’s propensity for sitting on the fence, which has been noted by many.

    Consolidation of elections makes good sense. I am an absentee voter, and do not make my choice until the day of the election. I want every piece of info I can get my hands on before poking out my chad or coloring in my ballot. Then I go to my nearest polling place and drop my absentee ballot off. It gives me the flexibility of mailing in the absentee ballot if I can’t make it to a polling place on the designated day, or wait until the last minute to make my choice.

    But never assume I don’t know there is an election or some other disrespectful assumption. Most voters know exactly what they are doing, don’t much like politicians, and are fed up with what is going on in our gov’t at all levels.

    I heartily agree local elections are probably more important than nat’l elections, and a vote counts more at the local level. Voting is a civic duty, but it becomes hard to make a choice when there don’t seem to be good solid candidates to choose from.

  73. wdf

    I think the turnout was low because California didn’t hold the Presidential primaries w/ this election, the way they might normally have done. You can peruse the election results at

    http://www.yoloelections.org/

    and study this further.

    This year ~40% of Davis voters voted for City Council candidates. In 2004 ~62% of voters cast ballots for Davis City Council. The difference was the Presidential primary was on that ballot, as was the Senate primary (Boxer’s seat).

    We’re dealing with the decision to have three different elections this year — Feb., June, and Nov.

  74. wdf

    I think the turnout was low because California didn’t hold the Presidential primaries w/ this election, the way they might normally have done. You can peruse the election results at

    http://www.yoloelections.org/

    and study this further.

    This year ~40% of Davis voters voted for City Council candidates. In 2004 ~62% of voters cast ballots for Davis City Council. The difference was the Presidential primary was on that ballot, as was the Senate primary (Boxer’s seat).

    We’re dealing with the decision to have three different elections this year — Feb., June, and Nov.

  75. wdf

    I think the turnout was low because California didn’t hold the Presidential primaries w/ this election, the way they might normally have done. You can peruse the election results at

    http://www.yoloelections.org/

    and study this further.

    This year ~40% of Davis voters voted for City Council candidates. In 2004 ~62% of voters cast ballots for Davis City Council. The difference was the Presidential primary was on that ballot, as was the Senate primary (Boxer’s seat).

    We’re dealing with the decision to have three different elections this year — Feb., June, and Nov.

  76. wdf

    I think the turnout was low because California didn’t hold the Presidential primaries w/ this election, the way they might normally have done. You can peruse the election results at

    http://www.yoloelections.org/

    and study this further.

    This year ~40% of Davis voters voted for City Council candidates. In 2004 ~62% of voters cast ballots for Davis City Council. The difference was the Presidential primary was on that ballot, as was the Senate primary (Boxer’s seat).

    We’re dealing with the decision to have three different elections this year — Feb., June, and Nov.

  77. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

    Absentee voter ~

    No offense taken. Over the years I too have felt that there was not much of a choice at times when going to the polls to vote or mailing in my ballot.

    Instead of opting not to vote at all voters can opt to write in a candidate. I know that their write in candidate will not be elected, but at least the voter will have an opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

    Citizens also have the opportunity to run for office. If they don’t feel they are being represented by those in office then people can step up and and run and make a difference. They may win or they may not, but they will never know until they try and try again.

    I heard a lot of voters express thanks for reminding them of the election, but they were concerned that there are a total of four elections in a one year cycle.

    Consolidation is something that we may want to consider.

    Thank you.

  78. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

    Absentee voter ~

    No offense taken. Over the years I too have felt that there was not much of a choice at times when going to the polls to vote or mailing in my ballot.

    Instead of opting not to vote at all voters can opt to write in a candidate. I know that their write in candidate will not be elected, but at least the voter will have an opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

    Citizens also have the opportunity to run for office. If they don’t feel they are being represented by those in office then people can step up and and run and make a difference. They may win or they may not, but they will never know until they try and try again.

    I heard a lot of voters express thanks for reminding them of the election, but they were concerned that there are a total of four elections in a one year cycle.

    Consolidation is something that we may want to consider.

    Thank you.

  79. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

    Absentee voter ~

    No offense taken. Over the years I too have felt that there was not much of a choice at times when going to the polls to vote or mailing in my ballot.

    Instead of opting not to vote at all voters can opt to write in a candidate. I know that their write in candidate will not be elected, but at least the voter will have an opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

    Citizens also have the opportunity to run for office. If they don’t feel they are being represented by those in office then people can step up and and run and make a difference. They may win or they may not, but they will never know until they try and try again.

    I heard a lot of voters express thanks for reminding them of the election, but they were concerned that there are a total of four elections in a one year cycle.

    Consolidation is something that we may want to consider.

    Thank you.

  80. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

    Absentee voter ~

    No offense taken. Over the years I too have felt that there was not much of a choice at times when going to the polls to vote or mailing in my ballot.

    Instead of opting not to vote at all voters can opt to write in a candidate. I know that their write in candidate will not be elected, but at least the voter will have an opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

    Citizens also have the opportunity to run for office. If they don’t feel they are being represented by those in office then people can step up and and run and make a difference. They may win or they may not, but they will never know until they try and try again.

    I heard a lot of voters express thanks for reminding them of the election, but they were concerned that there are a total of four elections in a one year cycle.

    Consolidation is something that we may want to consider.

    Thank you.

  81. Don Shor

    “Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line….”

    Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.

  82. Don Shor

    “Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line….”

    Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.

  83. Don Shor

    “Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line….”

    Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.

  84. Don Shor

    “Polling places can also, despite your experience, Don, be sites of last minute debates and exchanges of ideas among voters waiting in line….”

    Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.

  85. Sue Greenwald

    Don Shore said:From the LWV:

    “If you lose your absentee ballot…

    You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day…”

    That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots. Requiring citizens to order a new absentee ballot is a sure way to decrease voter turn-out.

  86. Sue Greenwald

    Don Shore said:From the LWV:

    “If you lose your absentee ballot…

    You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day…”

    That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots. Requiring citizens to order a new absentee ballot is a sure way to decrease voter turn-out.

  87. Sue Greenwald

    Don Shore said:From the LWV:

    “If you lose your absentee ballot…

    You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day…”

    That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots. Requiring citizens to order a new absentee ballot is a sure way to decrease voter turn-out.

  88. Sue Greenwald

    Don Shore said:From the LWV:

    “If you lose your absentee ballot…

    You may vote a provisional ballot at an early voting location or at your regular polling place on election day…”

    That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots. Requiring citizens to order a new absentee ballot is a sure way to decrease voter turn-out.

  89. darnell

    Freddie keeps threatening to change things after every election. What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?

    I have always gone to the polling place to vote but if there is a more efficient or cheaper way, let’s do it. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.

  90. darnell

    Freddie keeps threatening to change things after every election. What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?

    I have always gone to the polling place to vote but if there is a more efficient or cheaper way, let’s do it. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.

  91. darnell

    Freddie keeps threatening to change things after every election. What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?

    I have always gone to the polling place to vote but if there is a more efficient or cheaper way, let’s do it. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.

  92. darnell

    Freddie keeps threatening to change things after every election. What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?

    I have always gone to the polling place to vote but if there is a more efficient or cheaper way, let’s do it. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.

  93. Don Shor

    Sue said, “That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots.”

    I agree.

  94. Don Shor

    Sue said, “That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots.”

    I agree.

  95. Don Shor

    Sue said, “That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots.”

    I agree.

  96. Don Shor

    Sue said, “That is my point, Don. I think that at least some polling places should be opened on election day for citizens who lose their absentee ballots.”

    I agree.

  97. 無名 - wu ming

    consolidating elections makes sense, but another part of the headache is from the extra statewide elections we’ve had recently – the 2003 grey davis recall, arnold’s 2005 special election, and the 2008 prez primary + nuñez/perata term extension bill – which have given us close to 2 elections a year since 2002. people wear down, after a while of perpetual campaign.

    add to that local elections that don’t engage the student population, and often don’t include on-campus student voters, and the turnout falls even lower.

    as for vote by mail, i think it makes sense more in more densely populated urban precincts and really sparsely populated rural precincts, more than in places like davis, where there’s rarely a long line and adequate staffing.

    there is something to be said for the privacy of precinct voting – while it is also true of absentee voting, i have second thoughts about VBM in that it allows spouses or others to supervise family members’ ballots. that and i like voting in person.

    i’m not sure that this is really a major cost for the county; the larger problem is the state not playing its fair share, and has been for a long time.

  98. 無名 - wu ming

    consolidating elections makes sense, but another part of the headache is from the extra statewide elections we’ve had recently – the 2003 grey davis recall, arnold’s 2005 special election, and the 2008 prez primary + nuñez/perata term extension bill – which have given us close to 2 elections a year since 2002. people wear down, after a while of perpetual campaign.

    add to that local elections that don’t engage the student population, and often don’t include on-campus student voters, and the turnout falls even lower.

    as for vote by mail, i think it makes sense more in more densely populated urban precincts and really sparsely populated rural precincts, more than in places like davis, where there’s rarely a long line and adequate staffing.

    there is something to be said for the privacy of precinct voting – while it is also true of absentee voting, i have second thoughts about VBM in that it allows spouses or others to supervise family members’ ballots. that and i like voting in person.

    i’m not sure that this is really a major cost for the county; the larger problem is the state not playing its fair share, and has been for a long time.

  99. 無名 - wu ming

    consolidating elections makes sense, but another part of the headache is from the extra statewide elections we’ve had recently – the 2003 grey davis recall, arnold’s 2005 special election, and the 2008 prez primary + nuñez/perata term extension bill – which have given us close to 2 elections a year since 2002. people wear down, after a while of perpetual campaign.

    add to that local elections that don’t engage the student population, and often don’t include on-campus student voters, and the turnout falls even lower.

    as for vote by mail, i think it makes sense more in more densely populated urban precincts and really sparsely populated rural precincts, more than in places like davis, where there’s rarely a long line and adequate staffing.

    there is something to be said for the privacy of precinct voting – while it is also true of absentee voting, i have second thoughts about VBM in that it allows spouses or others to supervise family members’ ballots. that and i like voting in person.

    i’m not sure that this is really a major cost for the county; the larger problem is the state not playing its fair share, and has been for a long time.

  100. 無名 - wu ming

    consolidating elections makes sense, but another part of the headache is from the extra statewide elections we’ve had recently – the 2003 grey davis recall, arnold’s 2005 special election, and the 2008 prez primary + nuñez/perata term extension bill – which have given us close to 2 elections a year since 2002. people wear down, after a while of perpetual campaign.

    add to that local elections that don’t engage the student population, and often don’t include on-campus student voters, and the turnout falls even lower.

    as for vote by mail, i think it makes sense more in more densely populated urban precincts and really sparsely populated rural precincts, more than in places like davis, where there’s rarely a long line and adequate staffing.

    there is something to be said for the privacy of precinct voting – while it is also true of absentee voting, i have second thoughts about VBM in that it allows spouses or others to supervise family members’ ballots. that and i like voting in person.

    i’m not sure that this is really a major cost for the county; the larger problem is the state not playing its fair share, and has been for a long time.

  101. Rob Roy

    In 2004 the council created the Governance Task Force to look into election reform. The task force’s recommendation led to 2006’s Measure L on the issue of choice voting. The task force suggested that the city council should be increased to seven members and that elections should be held in November, at the same time as school board, congress, and Presidential. I agree that it would increase voter turnout but it also leads me to wonder… how is one yard going to fit all those signs?

    The task force’s full report can be found here

  102. Rob Roy

    In 2004 the council created the Governance Task Force to look into election reform. The task force’s recommendation led to 2006’s Measure L on the issue of choice voting. The task force suggested that the city council should be increased to seven members and that elections should be held in November, at the same time as school board, congress, and Presidential. I agree that it would increase voter turnout but it also leads me to wonder… how is one yard going to fit all those signs?

    The task force’s full report can be found here

  103. Rob Roy

    In 2004 the council created the Governance Task Force to look into election reform. The task force’s recommendation led to 2006’s Measure L on the issue of choice voting. The task force suggested that the city council should be increased to seven members and that elections should be held in November, at the same time as school board, congress, and Presidential. I agree that it would increase voter turnout but it also leads me to wonder… how is one yard going to fit all those signs?

    The task force’s full report can be found here

  104. Rob Roy

    In 2004 the council created the Governance Task Force to look into election reform. The task force’s recommendation led to 2006’s Measure L on the issue of choice voting. The task force suggested that the city council should be increased to seven members and that elections should be held in November, at the same time as school board, congress, and Presidential. I agree that it would increase voter turnout but it also leads me to wonder… how is one yard going to fit all those signs?

    The task force’s full report can be found here

  105. darnell

    “One of things we noticed as we talked to voters over the last few months, some did not realize that there was an election…”

    Please! This may be harsh but after all the IE’s, doorknob hangers, yard signs, and other mud slung about, if you didn’t know there was an election that may be a good thing for the rest of us.

  106. darnell

    “One of things we noticed as we talked to voters over the last few months, some did not realize that there was an election…”

    Please! This may be harsh but after all the IE’s, doorknob hangers, yard signs, and other mud slung about, if you didn’t know there was an election that may be a good thing for the rest of us.

  107. darnell

    “One of things we noticed as we talked to voters over the last few months, some did not realize that there was an election…”

    Please! This may be harsh but after all the IE’s, doorknob hangers, yard signs, and other mud slung about, if you didn’t know there was an election that may be a good thing for the rest of us.

  108. darnell

    “One of things we noticed as we talked to voters over the last few months, some did not realize that there was an election…”

    Please! This may be harsh but after all the IE’s, doorknob hangers, yard signs, and other mud slung about, if you didn’t know there was an election that may be a good thing for the rest of us.

  109. Anonymous

    “Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.” writes Don Shor.

    Sheesh, Mr. Quick-Draw Legal Beagle, in my experience political talk took place outside outside the polling place…the friendly greetings inside. Use a little common sense, Don, instead of always trying to “score points.” The election officials would have been quick to squelch any political talk inside their domain.

    “Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.”
    –writes anon, 6/11/08 1:36 PM

    Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience during the few minutes you were inside the polling place for everybody else’s. How do you know that five minutes after you left, there weren’t interesting conversations enlivening the atmosphere…even to the point where you might, if only you’d been there, have learned something you didn’t already know…

  110. Anonymous

    “Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.” writes Don Shor.

    Sheesh, Mr. Quick-Draw Legal Beagle, in my experience political talk took place outside outside the polling place…the friendly greetings inside. Use a little common sense, Don, instead of always trying to “score points.” The election officials would have been quick to squelch any political talk inside their domain.

    “Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.”
    –writes anon, 6/11/08 1:36 PM

    Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience during the few minutes you were inside the polling place for everybody else’s. How do you know that five minutes after you left, there weren’t interesting conversations enlivening the atmosphere…even to the point where you might, if only you’d been there, have learned something you didn’t already know…

  111. Anonymous

    “Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.” writes Don Shor.

    Sheesh, Mr. Quick-Draw Legal Beagle, in my experience political talk took place outside outside the polling place…the friendly greetings inside. Use a little common sense, Don, instead of always trying to “score points.” The election officials would have been quick to squelch any political talk inside their domain.

    “Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.”
    –writes anon, 6/11/08 1:36 PM

    Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience during the few minutes you were inside the polling place for everybody else’s. How do you know that five minutes after you left, there weren’t interesting conversations enlivening the atmosphere…even to the point where you might, if only you’d been there, have learned something you didn’t already know…

  112. Anonymous

    “Really? Politicking in the polling place? I thought that was illegal.” writes Don Shor.

    Sheesh, Mr. Quick-Draw Legal Beagle, in my experience political talk took place outside outside the polling place…the friendly greetings inside. Use a little common sense, Don, instead of always trying to “score points.” The election officials would have been quick to squelch any political talk inside their domain.

    “Someone said they like the social aspect of the polling place. The last 3 or 4 times I’ve gone to vote there wasn’t a soul in sight other than the voting officials.”
    –writes anon, 6/11/08 1:36 PM

    Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience during the few minutes you were inside the polling place for everybody else’s. How do you know that five minutes after you left, there weren’t interesting conversations enlivening the atmosphere…even to the point where you might, if only you’d been there, have learned something you didn’t already know…

  113. Anonymous

    Rich writes:
    “…you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20%less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.”

    Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?
    I find it hard to believe Oregonian county governments wouldn’t make allowance for voters who misplaced their absentee ballots, or forgot to mail them in. (Must mailed-in ballots be postmarked by Election Day?)

  114. Anonymous

    Rich writes:
    “…you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20%less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.”

    Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?
    I find it hard to believe Oregonian county governments wouldn’t make allowance for voters who misplaced their absentee ballots, or forgot to mail them in. (Must mailed-in ballots be postmarked by Election Day?)

  115. Anonymous

    Rich writes:
    “…you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20%less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.”

    Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?
    I find it hard to believe Oregonian county governments wouldn’t make allowance for voters who misplaced their absentee ballots, or forgot to mail them in. (Must mailed-in ballots be postmarked by Election Day?)

  116. Anonymous

    Rich writes:
    “…you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20%less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.”

    Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?
    I find it hard to believe Oregonian county governments wouldn’t make allowance for voters who misplaced their absentee ballots, or forgot to mail them in. (Must mailed-in ballots be postmarked by Election Day?)

  117. darnell

    Anon 3:25 PM – Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience…

    Just stating a fact that no one was at the polling place the last few times I was there. Read into it what you like. I read the stats for my precinct and the turnout was pathetic.

  118. darnell

    Anon 3:25 PM – Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience…

    Just stating a fact that no one was at the polling place the last few times I was there. Read into it what you like. I read the stats for my precinct and the turnout was pathetic.

  119. darnell

    Anon 3:25 PM – Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience…

    Just stating a fact that no one was at the polling place the last few times I was there. Read into it what you like. I read the stats for my precinct and the turnout was pathetic.

  120. darnell

    Anon 3:25 PM – Well, that’s interesting…that you substitute your experience…

    Just stating a fact that no one was at the polling place the last few times I was there. Read into it what you like. I read the stats for my precinct and the turnout was pathetic.

  121. Oregon

    Oregon’s cultural ethos(at least west of the mountains) focuses on individual autonomy.. new wave belief systems… communing with nature and the universe are not necessarily socially effective substitutes for community cohesiveness.

    Western Oregon is populated with Californians who packed up and move to “greener pastures” rather than work to make their California communities better places to raise their children.

  122. Oregon

    Oregon’s cultural ethos(at least west of the mountains) focuses on individual autonomy.. new wave belief systems… communing with nature and the universe are not necessarily socially effective substitutes for community cohesiveness.

    Western Oregon is populated with Californians who packed up and move to “greener pastures” rather than work to make their California communities better places to raise their children.

  123. Oregon

    Oregon’s cultural ethos(at least west of the mountains) focuses on individual autonomy.. new wave belief systems… communing with nature and the universe are not necessarily socially effective substitutes for community cohesiveness.

    Western Oregon is populated with Californians who packed up and move to “greener pastures” rather than work to make their California communities better places to raise their children.

  124. Oregon

    Oregon’s cultural ethos(at least west of the mountains) focuses on individual autonomy.. new wave belief systems… communing with nature and the universe are not necessarily socially effective substitutes for community cohesiveness.

    Western Oregon is populated with Californians who packed up and move to “greener pastures” rather than work to make their California communities better places to raise their children.

  125. Davisite

    Don Shor said:
    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense

    “Making sense”… judgements driven
    SOLELY by “analysis” of data and statistics are only one part of the social equation.. a society’s VALUE CHOICES are just as, and arguably, more important in determining its future.

  126. Davisite

    Don Shor said:
    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense

    “Making sense”… judgements driven
    SOLELY by “analysis” of data and statistics are only one part of the social equation.. a society’s VALUE CHOICES are just as, and arguably, more important in determining its future.

  127. Davisite

    Don Shor said:
    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense

    “Making sense”… judgements driven
    SOLELY by “analysis” of data and statistics are only one part of the social equation.. a society’s VALUE CHOICES are just as, and arguably, more important in determining its future.

  128. Davisite

    Don Shor said:
    Electoral consolidation + all-mail balloting makes sense

    “Making sense”… judgements driven
    SOLELY by “analysis” of data and statistics are only one part of the social equation.. a society’s VALUE CHOICES are just as, and arguably, more important in determining its future.

  129. Rich Rifkin

    “Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?”

    Here is part of my 2006 column on this issue. It has all the pertinent facts:

    In 1998, Oregon adopted an innovative solution for voting. Rather than setting up thousands of individual polling stations twice each year, Oregon discovered that it was easier, less costly and more popular to vote by mail. (Voters in Oregon have the option of handing in their sealed ballots at designated drop off boxes, as well.)

    But while vote-by-mail has been a tremendous success in Oregon , no other states, surprisingly, have followed suit. That’s not only unfortunate, it’s bad policy.

    In 2003, when we recalled Gov. Gray Davis, Yolo County’s clerk-recorder, Freddie Oakley, encouraged voters in our county to vote absentee. Voting absentee is essentially the same as vote-by-mail.

    The reason Oakley hoped that more people would vote absentee in that election was that it costs the county much less money to vote by mail than it does to staff 115 precincts. Because the gubernatorial recall was a special election, Yolo County could not afford to open the usual number of polling stations.

    Honoring her 2003 plea, I requested an absentee ballot for that election and have voted by mail ever since.

    I asked Oakley recently if she would favor adopting the Oregon system in California. (Yolo County cannot legally employ mail-only voting unless the state law is changed.) She said no.

    “I really love democracy,” Oakley said, “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.”

    While Oakley is a good public servant and her motivations are pure, she is wrong.

    “If I were an elitist, I would love all-mail balloting,” Oakley said. “Rich, highly educated people have a higher rate of returning mailed ballots than poor, poorly educated people.”

    That’s off point. Rich people vote more often than poor people, regardless of the voting system.

    What is not true is that poorer people in Oregon vote less often because of vote-by-mail. In fact, low income Oregonians strongly favor vote-by-mail.

    University of Oregon professor of political science Priscilla Southwell has studied this topic. In a 2003 report, she found that regardless of income, age, gender, race, party registration, employment, ideology or level of education, Oregonians (80.9 percent) prefer vote-by-mail.

    “The overwhelming support for vote-by-mail is apparent, and this preference is consistent across all demographic and attitudinal subcategories,” Southwell concluded.

    “Younger voters, in the 26-38 year range, as well as moderates and those who were either disabled, retired or a homemaker, also indicated that they voted more often under vote-by-mail,” Southwell added.

    Because I grew up with polling stations, that was my natural preference. I remember as a tot going to the voting booth with my parents, where my Democratic mom would cancel out my Republican dad’s vote. I voted in a polling station in every election from 1980 to 2002.

    But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.

    If the weather is terrible one day, or I am too busy with other activities, I can wait a day or two or more to mail in my ballot.

    Inconvenience is one reason so few people actually turn out at the polls on Election Day. If the weather is inclement, turnout is always lower. Most people work all day on Tuesdays and many don’t have the energy to trudge down to their precinct after a hard day’s labor and a long commute.

    From a public policy perspective, cost must be considered. We have limited money in Yolo County. The more we spend staffing polling stations, the less we will have for library books and the animal shelter and public health.

    According to Professor Southwell, vote-by-mail is much less expensive.

    “In general, the cost of conducting all-mail elections is one-third to one-half of the amount required for polling place elections,” Southwell found. “For example, the May 1994 polling place election in Oregon cost $4.33 per ballot, while the May 1995 vote by mail election cost $1.24 per ballot.”

    California ought to study the Oregon model and adopt it. We would be better off if we got rid of all of our polling stations and had mail-only balloting.

  130. Rich Rifkin

    “Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?”

    Here is part of my 2006 column on this issue. It has all the pertinent facts:

    In 1998, Oregon adopted an innovative solution for voting. Rather than setting up thousands of individual polling stations twice each year, Oregon discovered that it was easier, less costly and more popular to vote by mail. (Voters in Oregon have the option of handing in their sealed ballots at designated drop off boxes, as well.)

    But while vote-by-mail has been a tremendous success in Oregon , no other states, surprisingly, have followed suit. That’s not only unfortunate, it’s bad policy.

    In 2003, when we recalled Gov. Gray Davis, Yolo County’s clerk-recorder, Freddie Oakley, encouraged voters in our county to vote absentee. Voting absentee is essentially the same as vote-by-mail.

    The reason Oakley hoped that more people would vote absentee in that election was that it costs the county much less money to vote by mail than it does to staff 115 precincts. Because the gubernatorial recall was a special election, Yolo County could not afford to open the usual number of polling stations.

    Honoring her 2003 plea, I requested an absentee ballot for that election and have voted by mail ever since.

    I asked Oakley recently if she would favor adopting the Oregon system in California. (Yolo County cannot legally employ mail-only voting unless the state law is changed.) She said no.

    “I really love democracy,” Oakley said, “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.”

    While Oakley is a good public servant and her motivations are pure, she is wrong.

    “If I were an elitist, I would love all-mail balloting,” Oakley said. “Rich, highly educated people have a higher rate of returning mailed ballots than poor, poorly educated people.”

    That’s off point. Rich people vote more often than poor people, regardless of the voting system.

    What is not true is that poorer people in Oregon vote less often because of vote-by-mail. In fact, low income Oregonians strongly favor vote-by-mail.

    University of Oregon professor of political science Priscilla Southwell has studied this topic. In a 2003 report, she found that regardless of income, age, gender, race, party registration, employment, ideology or level of education, Oregonians (80.9 percent) prefer vote-by-mail.

    “The overwhelming support for vote-by-mail is apparent, and this preference is consistent across all demographic and attitudinal subcategories,” Southwell concluded.

    “Younger voters, in the 26-38 year range, as well as moderates and those who were either disabled, retired or a homemaker, also indicated that they voted more often under vote-by-mail,” Southwell added.

    Because I grew up with polling stations, that was my natural preference. I remember as a tot going to the voting booth with my parents, where my Democratic mom would cancel out my Republican dad’s vote. I voted in a polling station in every election from 1980 to 2002.

    But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.

    If the weather is terrible one day, or I am too busy with other activities, I can wait a day or two or more to mail in my ballot.

    Inconvenience is one reason so few people actually turn out at the polls on Election Day. If the weather is inclement, turnout is always lower. Most people work all day on Tuesdays and many don’t have the energy to trudge down to their precinct after a hard day’s labor and a long commute.

    From a public policy perspective, cost must be considered. We have limited money in Yolo County. The more we spend staffing polling stations, the less we will have for library books and the animal shelter and public health.

    According to Professor Southwell, vote-by-mail is much less expensive.

    “In general, the cost of conducting all-mail elections is one-third to one-half of the amount required for polling place elections,” Southwell found. “For example, the May 1994 polling place election in Oregon cost $4.33 per ballot, while the May 1995 vote by mail election cost $1.24 per ballot.”

    California ought to study the Oregon model and adopt it. We would be better off if we got rid of all of our polling stations and had mail-only balloting.

  131. Rich Rifkin

    “Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?”

    Here is part of my 2006 column on this issue. It has all the pertinent facts:

    In 1998, Oregon adopted an innovative solution for voting. Rather than setting up thousands of individual polling stations twice each year, Oregon discovered that it was easier, less costly and more popular to vote by mail. (Voters in Oregon have the option of handing in their sealed ballots at designated drop off boxes, as well.)

    But while vote-by-mail has been a tremendous success in Oregon , no other states, surprisingly, have followed suit. That’s not only unfortunate, it’s bad policy.

    In 2003, when we recalled Gov. Gray Davis, Yolo County’s clerk-recorder, Freddie Oakley, encouraged voters in our county to vote absentee. Voting absentee is essentially the same as vote-by-mail.

    The reason Oakley hoped that more people would vote absentee in that election was that it costs the county much less money to vote by mail than it does to staff 115 precincts. Because the gubernatorial recall was a special election, Yolo County could not afford to open the usual number of polling stations.

    Honoring her 2003 plea, I requested an absentee ballot for that election and have voted by mail ever since.

    I asked Oakley recently if she would favor adopting the Oregon system in California. (Yolo County cannot legally employ mail-only voting unless the state law is changed.) She said no.

    “I really love democracy,” Oakley said, “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.”

    While Oakley is a good public servant and her motivations are pure, she is wrong.

    “If I were an elitist, I would love all-mail balloting,” Oakley said. “Rich, highly educated people have a higher rate of returning mailed ballots than poor, poorly educated people.”

    That’s off point. Rich people vote more often than poor people, regardless of the voting system.

    What is not true is that poorer people in Oregon vote less often because of vote-by-mail. In fact, low income Oregonians strongly favor vote-by-mail.

    University of Oregon professor of political science Priscilla Southwell has studied this topic. In a 2003 report, she found that regardless of income, age, gender, race, party registration, employment, ideology or level of education, Oregonians (80.9 percent) prefer vote-by-mail.

    “The overwhelming support for vote-by-mail is apparent, and this preference is consistent across all demographic and attitudinal subcategories,” Southwell concluded.

    “Younger voters, in the 26-38 year range, as well as moderates and those who were either disabled, retired or a homemaker, also indicated that they voted more often under vote-by-mail,” Southwell added.

    Because I grew up with polling stations, that was my natural preference. I remember as a tot going to the voting booth with my parents, where my Democratic mom would cancel out my Republican dad’s vote. I voted in a polling station in every election from 1980 to 2002.

    But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.

    If the weather is terrible one day, or I am too busy with other activities, I can wait a day or two or more to mail in my ballot.

    Inconvenience is one reason so few people actually turn out at the polls on Election Day. If the weather is inclement, turnout is always lower. Most people work all day on Tuesdays and many don’t have the energy to trudge down to their precinct after a hard day’s labor and a long commute.

    From a public policy perspective, cost must be considered. We have limited money in Yolo County. The more we spend staffing polling stations, the less we will have for library books and the animal shelter and public health.

    According to Professor Southwell, vote-by-mail is much less expensive.

    “In general, the cost of conducting all-mail elections is one-third to one-half of the amount required for polling place elections,” Southwell found. “For example, the May 1994 polling place election in Oregon cost $4.33 per ballot, while the May 1995 vote by mail election cost $1.24 per ballot.”

    California ought to study the Oregon model and adopt it. We would be better off if we got rid of all of our polling stations and had mail-only balloting.

  132. Rich Rifkin

    “Any facts to back up the Oregon figures?
    Do we know for a fact that all, polling places in Oregon are closed on Election Day?”

    Here is part of my 2006 column on this issue. It has all the pertinent facts:

    In 1998, Oregon adopted an innovative solution for voting. Rather than setting up thousands of individual polling stations twice each year, Oregon discovered that it was easier, less costly and more popular to vote by mail. (Voters in Oregon have the option of handing in their sealed ballots at designated drop off boxes, as well.)

    But while vote-by-mail has been a tremendous success in Oregon , no other states, surprisingly, have followed suit. That’s not only unfortunate, it’s bad policy.

    In 2003, when we recalled Gov. Gray Davis, Yolo County’s clerk-recorder, Freddie Oakley, encouraged voters in our county to vote absentee. Voting absentee is essentially the same as vote-by-mail.

    The reason Oakley hoped that more people would vote absentee in that election was that it costs the county much less money to vote by mail than it does to staff 115 precincts. Because the gubernatorial recall was a special election, Yolo County could not afford to open the usual number of polling stations.

    Honoring her 2003 plea, I requested an absentee ballot for that election and have voted by mail ever since.

    I asked Oakley recently if she would favor adopting the Oregon system in California. (Yolo County cannot legally employ mail-only voting unless the state law is changed.) She said no.

    “I really love democracy,” Oakley said, “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.”

    While Oakley is a good public servant and her motivations are pure, she is wrong.

    “If I were an elitist, I would love all-mail balloting,” Oakley said. “Rich, highly educated people have a higher rate of returning mailed ballots than poor, poorly educated people.”

    That’s off point. Rich people vote more often than poor people, regardless of the voting system.

    What is not true is that poorer people in Oregon vote less often because of vote-by-mail. In fact, low income Oregonians strongly favor vote-by-mail.

    University of Oregon professor of political science Priscilla Southwell has studied this topic. In a 2003 report, she found that regardless of income, age, gender, race, party registration, employment, ideology or level of education, Oregonians (80.9 percent) prefer vote-by-mail.

    “The overwhelming support for vote-by-mail is apparent, and this preference is consistent across all demographic and attitudinal subcategories,” Southwell concluded.

    “Younger voters, in the 26-38 year range, as well as moderates and those who were either disabled, retired or a homemaker, also indicated that they voted more often under vote-by-mail,” Southwell added.

    Because I grew up with polling stations, that was my natural preference. I remember as a tot going to the voting booth with my parents, where my Democratic mom would cancel out my Republican dad’s vote. I voted in a polling station in every election from 1980 to 2002.

    But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.

    If the weather is terrible one day, or I am too busy with other activities, I can wait a day or two or more to mail in my ballot.

    Inconvenience is one reason so few people actually turn out at the polls on Election Day. If the weather is inclement, turnout is always lower. Most people work all day on Tuesdays and many don’t have the energy to trudge down to their precinct after a hard day’s labor and a long commute.

    From a public policy perspective, cost must be considered. We have limited money in Yolo County. The more we spend staffing polling stations, the less we will have for library books and the animal shelter and public health.

    According to Professor Southwell, vote-by-mail is much less expensive.

    “In general, the cost of conducting all-mail elections is one-third to one-half of the amount required for polling place elections,” Southwell found. “For example, the May 1994 polling place election in Oregon cost $4.33 per ballot, while the May 1995 vote by mail election cost $1.24 per ballot.”

    California ought to study the Oregon model and adopt it. We would be better off if we got rid of all of our polling stations and had mail-only balloting.

  133. Anonymous

    “But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.”

    There’s a certain elitist tinge to this comment. Not everyone would find it as convenient to sit around the house and fill out a ballot among distractions of family, the TV going and who knows what all.
    One of the points of a polling place is “the secret ballot,” which occurs when you are alone in the booth, free to vote your preference without interruption.
    Also, in general beyond this comment I believe that any limitation on voters’ ability to vote, by giving them as many options as possible to exercise this basic right lessens our Democracy and takes a tiny step in the direction of Fascism.

  134. Anonymous

    “But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.”

    There’s a certain elitist tinge to this comment. Not everyone would find it as convenient to sit around the house and fill out a ballot among distractions of family, the TV going and who knows what all.
    One of the points of a polling place is “the secret ballot,” which occurs when you are alone in the booth, free to vote your preference without interruption.
    Also, in general beyond this comment I believe that any limitation on voters’ ability to vote, by giving them as many options as possible to exercise this basic right lessens our Democracy and takes a tiny step in the direction of Fascism.

  135. Anonymous

    “But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.”

    There’s a certain elitist tinge to this comment. Not everyone would find it as convenient to sit around the house and fill out a ballot among distractions of family, the TV going and who knows what all.
    One of the points of a polling place is “the secret ballot,” which occurs when you are alone in the booth, free to vote your preference without interruption.
    Also, in general beyond this comment I believe that any limitation on voters’ ability to vote, by giving them as many options as possible to exercise this basic right lessens our Democracy and takes a tiny step in the direction of Fascism.

  136. Anonymous

    “But since I have become a “permanent absentee” voter, I don’t miss it. It’s more convenient to vote by mail. After contemplating all of the candidates and studying the ballot measures, I fill out my ballot at home, the same as I would if I biked down to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church to vote.”

    There’s a certain elitist tinge to this comment. Not everyone would find it as convenient to sit around the house and fill out a ballot among distractions of family, the TV going and who knows what all.
    One of the points of a polling place is “the secret ballot,” which occurs when you are alone in the booth, free to vote your preference without interruption.
    Also, in general beyond this comment I believe that any limitation on voters’ ability to vote, by giving them as many options as possible to exercise this basic right lessens our Democracy and takes a tiny step in the direction of Fascism.

  137. no elitism

    Facism and elitism are what come to mind when I think of having a complete absentee voting system. Even with some polling places open on election day it still appears this way.

  138. no elitism

    Facism and elitism are what come to mind when I think of having a complete absentee voting system. Even with some polling places open on election day it still appears this way.

  139. no elitism

    Facism and elitism are what come to mind when I think of having a complete absentee voting system. Even with some polling places open on election day it still appears this way.

  140. no elitism

    Facism and elitism are what come to mind when I think of having a complete absentee voting system. Even with some polling places open on election day it still appears this way.

  141. canvasser

    Several things were quite evident as I was walking precincts this last council election. Those who immediately sent in their absentee ballots were usually uninformed about the issues. I’ve made up my nind, don’t confuse me with the facts! is the expression that comes readily to mind. they were NOT interested in hearing what the candidates had to say about the issues. Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!

  142. canvasser

    Several things were quite evident as I was walking precincts this last council election. Those who immediately sent in their absentee ballots were usually uninformed about the issues. I’ve made up my nind, don’t confuse me with the facts! is the expression that comes readily to mind. they were NOT interested in hearing what the candidates had to say about the issues. Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!

  143. canvasser

    Several things were quite evident as I was walking precincts this last council election. Those who immediately sent in their absentee ballots were usually uninformed about the issues. I’ve made up my nind, don’t confuse me with the facts! is the expression that comes readily to mind. they were NOT interested in hearing what the candidates had to say about the issues. Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!

  144. canvasser

    Several things were quite evident as I was walking precincts this last council election. Those who immediately sent in their absentee ballots were usually uninformed about the issues. I’ve made up my nind, don’t confuse me with the facts! is the expression that comes readily to mind. they were NOT interested in hearing what the candidates had to say about the issues. Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!

  145. Rich Rifkin

    “What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?”

    State law has to change. If that were done, then… I’m not sure. I guess the Board of Supes would have to change the election laws in Yolo County; and if they did so, we could have all-mail elections.

    In Oregon, if I remember correctly, there are no polling stations as we know them. However, there are places throughout each community where voters can go to get a new ballot and drop off a ballot.

    One further thing I suggest to those who vehemently oppose going to all-mail elections: you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20% less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.

  146. Rich Rifkin

    “What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?”

    State law has to change. If that were done, then… I’m not sure. I guess the Board of Supes would have to change the election laws in Yolo County; and if they did so, we could have all-mail elections.

    In Oregon, if I remember correctly, there are no polling stations as we know them. However, there are places throughout each community where voters can go to get a new ballot and drop off a ballot.

    One further thing I suggest to those who vehemently oppose going to all-mail elections: you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20% less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.

  147. Rich Rifkin

    “What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?”

    State law has to change. If that were done, then… I’m not sure. I guess the Board of Supes would have to change the election laws in Yolo County; and if they did so, we could have all-mail elections.

    In Oregon, if I remember correctly, there are no polling stations as we know them. However, there are places throughout each community where voters can go to get a new ballot and drop off a ballot.

    One further thing I suggest to those who vehemently oppose going to all-mail elections: you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20% less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.

  148. Rich Rifkin

    “What is it that needs to be done from a legal standpoint to go to all mail-in ballots? Is it something that can be mandated or does it require a vote of the people?”

    State law has to change. If that were done, then… I’m not sure. I guess the Board of Supes would have to change the election laws in Yolo County; and if they did so, we could have all-mail elections.

    In Oregon, if I remember correctly, there are no polling stations as we know them. However, there are places throughout each community where voters can go to get a new ballot and drop off a ballot.

    One further thing I suggest to those who vehemently oppose going to all-mail elections: you don’t see the people of Oregon clamoring for a return to the days or yore when elections cost twice as much and they got 20% less turnout. Once we adopt all-mail voting, very few will see it as a mistake. I think the hesitancy to adopt this change is simply one of ignorance and misplaced nostalgia.

  149. Ron Glick

    It would be wrong to make any changes based on the low turnout on June 3. When the presidential primary was moved forward and severed from the legislative primary it doomed the June turnout to be the lowest on record. This, of course, was done to try to pass a term limits initiative that would have allowed the legislative leaders to keep their positions of power.

    If the June 3 vote had included a choice between Obama and Clinton turnout would have been the highest on record as it was in so many other states. This is just one irony of the move of the presidential primary. There are other ironies of course, such as the impact a late democratic primary might have had on the outcome of the race for the democratic nomination. Just think if instead of Montana on June 3rd it was California that was voting.

    The penultimate irony is the loss by Cabaldon, who was favored by the insiders but lost because of the insiders attempt to change term limits based on their own self interest. The low turnout probably helped Mariko.

  150. Ron Glick

    It would be wrong to make any changes based on the low turnout on June 3. When the presidential primary was moved forward and severed from the legislative primary it doomed the June turnout to be the lowest on record. This, of course, was done to try to pass a term limits initiative that would have allowed the legislative leaders to keep their positions of power.

    If the June 3 vote had included a choice between Obama and Clinton turnout would have been the highest on record as it was in so many other states. This is just one irony of the move of the presidential primary. There are other ironies of course, such as the impact a late democratic primary might have had on the outcome of the race for the democratic nomination. Just think if instead of Montana on June 3rd it was California that was voting.

    The penultimate irony is the loss by Cabaldon, who was favored by the insiders but lost because of the insiders attempt to change term limits based on their own self interest. The low turnout probably helped Mariko.

  151. Ron Glick

    It would be wrong to make any changes based on the low turnout on June 3. When the presidential primary was moved forward and severed from the legislative primary it doomed the June turnout to be the lowest on record. This, of course, was done to try to pass a term limits initiative that would have allowed the legislative leaders to keep their positions of power.

    If the June 3 vote had included a choice between Obama and Clinton turnout would have been the highest on record as it was in so many other states. This is just one irony of the move of the presidential primary. There are other ironies of course, such as the impact a late democratic primary might have had on the outcome of the race for the democratic nomination. Just think if instead of Montana on June 3rd it was California that was voting.

    The penultimate irony is the loss by Cabaldon, who was favored by the insiders but lost because of the insiders attempt to change term limits based on their own self interest. The low turnout probably helped Mariko.

  152. Ron Glick

    It would be wrong to make any changes based on the low turnout on June 3. When the presidential primary was moved forward and severed from the legislative primary it doomed the June turnout to be the lowest on record. This, of course, was done to try to pass a term limits initiative that would have allowed the legislative leaders to keep their positions of power.

    If the June 3 vote had included a choice between Obama and Clinton turnout would have been the highest on record as it was in so many other states. This is just one irony of the move of the presidential primary. There are other ironies of course, such as the impact a late democratic primary might have had on the outcome of the race for the democratic nomination. Just think if instead of Montana on June 3rd it was California that was voting.

    The penultimate irony is the loss by Cabaldon, who was favored by the insiders but lost because of the insiders attempt to change term limits based on their own self interest. The low turnout probably helped Mariko.

  153. Diane

    “Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!”

    Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.

  154. Diane

    “Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!”

    Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.

  155. Diane

    “Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!”

    Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.

  156. Diane

    “Absentee balloting should be reserved for those who CANNOT get out to the polls to vote!!”

    Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.

  157. Anonymous

    AN ALTERNATIVE TO ALL OF THIS:

    Why not have Television voting? One could sit in the privacy of one’s home and vote through that media. It could be a 2 day event.
    One could be watching their favorite show,(maybe even choking their chicken) and be able to vote via television. George Carlin would like this idea.

  158. Anonymous

    AN ALTERNATIVE TO ALL OF THIS:

    Why not have Television voting? One could sit in the privacy of one’s home and vote through that media. It could be a 2 day event.
    One could be watching their favorite show,(maybe even choking their chicken) and be able to vote via television. George Carlin would like this idea.

  159. Anonymous

    AN ALTERNATIVE TO ALL OF THIS:

    Why not have Television voting? One could sit in the privacy of one’s home and vote through that media. It could be a 2 day event.
    One could be watching their favorite show,(maybe even choking their chicken) and be able to vote via television. George Carlin would like this idea.

  160. Anonymous

    AN ALTERNATIVE TO ALL OF THIS:

    Why not have Television voting? One could sit in the privacy of one’s home and vote through that media. It could be a 2 day event.
    One could be watching their favorite show,(maybe even choking their chicken) and be able to vote via television. George Carlin would like this idea.

  161. Don Shor

    Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.

  162. Don Shor

    Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.

  163. Don Shor

    Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.

  164. Don Shor

    Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.

  165. PRED old timer

    When all the candidates are spouting the same dull platform, it’s really hard to care. People want real change. Many of us just ended up voting for the lesser evils.

  166. PRED old timer

    When all the candidates are spouting the same dull platform, it’s really hard to care. People want real change. Many of us just ended up voting for the lesser evils.

  167. PRED old timer

    When all the candidates are spouting the same dull platform, it’s really hard to care. People want real change. Many of us just ended up voting for the lesser evils.

  168. PRED old timer

    When all the candidates are spouting the same dull platform, it’s really hard to care. People want real change. Many of us just ended up voting for the lesser evils.

  169. Anonymous

    People who want change usually vote for something other than the incumbents. I’m having a hard time buying the public wanted real change mantra and yet reelected everyone.

  170. Anonymous

    People who want change usually vote for something other than the incumbents. I’m having a hard time buying the public wanted real change mantra and yet reelected everyone.

  171. Anonymous

    People who want change usually vote for something other than the incumbents. I’m having a hard time buying the public wanted real change mantra and yet reelected everyone.

  172. Anonymous

    People who want change usually vote for something other than the incumbents. I’m having a hard time buying the public wanted real change mantra and yet reelected everyone.

  173. PRED old timer

    It really was a lack luster selection of candidates all around.
    There was almost nothing but incumbents, the exception being Ceclia and Sidney. I did vote for Sidney but Ceclia was just more of the same.

    The people that did show up to vote are the ones terrified of any change at all. The folks that needed hope stayed away. But doesn’t that pretty much describe how Davis works anyways?

  174. PRED old timer

    It really was a lack luster selection of candidates all around.
    There was almost nothing but incumbents, the exception being Ceclia and Sidney. I did vote for Sidney but Ceclia was just more of the same.

    The people that did show up to vote are the ones terrified of any change at all. The folks that needed hope stayed away. But doesn’t that pretty much describe how Davis works anyways?

  175. PRED old timer

    It really was a lack luster selection of candidates all around.
    There was almost nothing but incumbents, the exception being Ceclia and Sidney. I did vote for Sidney but Ceclia was just more of the same.

    The people that did show up to vote are the ones terrified of any change at all. The folks that needed hope stayed away. But doesn’t that pretty much describe how Davis works anyways?

  176. PRED old timer

    It really was a lack luster selection of candidates all around.
    There was almost nothing but incumbents, the exception being Ceclia and Sidney. I did vote for Sidney but Ceclia was just more of the same.

    The people that did show up to vote are the ones terrified of any change at all. The folks that needed hope stayed away. But doesn’t that pretty much describe how Davis works anyways?

  177. wdf

    New things I’ve learned from this blog, today:

    Godwin’s Law — never heard of it before Don Shor mentioned it here(thanks, Don)

    see
    this wikipedia link if you, too, want to be in the know

    That in the future, one may watch their favorite TV show, suffocate their hen, and vote for president or city council all at the same time. I hope I don’t get confused by the multi-tasking.

  178. wdf

    New things I’ve learned from this blog, today:

    Godwin’s Law — never heard of it before Don Shor mentioned it here(thanks, Don)

    see
    this wikipedia link if you, too, want to be in the know

    That in the future, one may watch their favorite TV show, suffocate their hen, and vote for president or city council all at the same time. I hope I don’t get confused by the multi-tasking.

  179. wdf

    New things I’ve learned from this blog, today:

    Godwin’s Law — never heard of it before Don Shor mentioned it here(thanks, Don)

    see
    this wikipedia link if you, too, want to be in the know

    That in the future, one may watch their favorite TV show, suffocate their hen, and vote for president or city council all at the same time. I hope I don’t get confused by the multi-tasking.

  180. wdf

    New things I’ve learned from this blog, today:

    Godwin’s Law — never heard of it before Don Shor mentioned it here(thanks, Don)

    see
    this wikipedia link if you, too, want to be in the know

    That in the future, one may watch their favorite TV show, suffocate their hen, and vote for president or city council all at the same time. I hope I don’t get confused by the multi-tasking.

  181. Anonymous

    6/11/08 10:24 PM writes:

    “Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.”

    Hm, and how do you arrive at the figure of “$25”? Seems pretty high.
    Why not just go back to that brilliant idea spawned during the Jim Crow era back in the 1890s
    Deep South:
    The Poll Tax.
    Priced at a level to keep those who are deemed not worthy of membership in the voting elite out of the voting booth.

  182. Anonymous

    6/11/08 10:24 PM writes:

    “Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.”

    Hm, and how do you arrive at the figure of “$25”? Seems pretty high.
    Why not just go back to that brilliant idea spawned during the Jim Crow era back in the 1890s
    Deep South:
    The Poll Tax.
    Priced at a level to keep those who are deemed not worthy of membership in the voting elite out of the voting booth.

  183. Anonymous

    6/11/08 10:24 PM writes:

    “Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.”

    Hm, and how do you arrive at the figure of “$25”? Seems pretty high.
    Why not just go back to that brilliant idea spawned during the Jim Crow era back in the 1890s
    Deep South:
    The Poll Tax.
    Priced at a level to keep those who are deemed not worthy of membership in the voting elite out of the voting booth.

  184. Anonymous

    6/11/08 10:24 PM writes:

    “Polling booth voting should be reserved for those who want to pay $25 apiece to cover the extra cost of their vote. They could even get together in the rented public hall and debate the issues in a well informed manner as they pay their $25 fee.”

    Hm, and how do you arrive at the figure of “$25”? Seems pretty high.
    Why not just go back to that brilliant idea spawned during the Jim Crow era back in the 1890s
    Deep South:
    The Poll Tax.
    Priced at a level to keep those who are deemed not worthy of membership in the voting elite out of the voting booth.

  185. Anonymous

    Rich Rikin,
    I agree with you. I would like you to meet with a 50 year old retired Deputy or Firefighter and have them explain to you why they retired at 50.
    I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!

  186. Anonymous

    Rich Rikin,
    I agree with you. I would like you to meet with a 50 year old retired Deputy or Firefighter and have them explain to you why they retired at 50.
    I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!

  187. Anonymous

    Rich Rikin,
    I agree with you. I would like you to meet with a 50 year old retired Deputy or Firefighter and have them explain to you why they retired at 50.
    I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!

  188. Anonymous

    Rich Rikin,
    I agree with you. I would like you to meet with a 50 year old retired Deputy or Firefighter and have them explain to you why they retired at 50.
    I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!

  189. Rich Rifkin

    “I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!”

    Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist. What you don’t know is that as a child I began studying, in close detail, every episode of Hong Kong Phooey. I’m now literally unbeatable.

  190. Rich Rifkin

    “I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!”

    Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist. What you don’t know is that as a child I began studying, in close detail, every episode of Hong Kong Phooey. I’m now literally unbeatable.

  191. Rich Rifkin

    “I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!”

    Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist. What you don’t know is that as a child I began studying, in close detail, every episode of Hong Kong Phooey. I’m now literally unbeatable.

  192. Rich Rifkin

    “I’ll even bring my camcorder so I can record them beating you to a pulp!”

    Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist. What you don’t know is that as a child I began studying, in close detail, every episode of Hong Kong Phooey. I’m now literally unbeatable.

  193. darnell

    Rifkin said:
    “Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist…..

    This is a win win situation for you Rich. You get to display your Hong Kong Phooey skills or if the 50 year old turns the tables on you, your point is proven that they have a few more good years in them.

  194. darnell

    Rifkin said:
    “Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist…..

    This is a win win situation for you Rich. You get to display your Hong Kong Phooey skills or if the 50 year old turns the tables on you, your point is proven that they have a few more good years in them.

  195. darnell

    Rifkin said:
    “Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist…..

    This is a win win situation for you Rich. You get to display your Hong Kong Phooey skills or if the 50 year old turns the tables on you, your point is proven that they have a few more good years in them.

  196. darnell

    Rifkin said:
    “Wow, how little faith you have in my skills as a martial artist…..

    This is a win win situation for you Rich. You get to display your Hong Kong Phooey skills or if the 50 year old turns the tables on you, your point is proven that they have a few more good years in them.

  197. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:

    “Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.”
    —————————-
    Well, let’s see Don,
    First “we” achieved Godwin’s law. Okay, that’s nice, I mean that “we” did that together. How community-enhancing of us, I might add. But wait, then, in the very next sentence, you pull back from warm sentimental associations with our Davis community and all of a sudden, it’s “you folks” did the deed of making the case for polling places.
    Then, you tediously bring up Godwin’s law, which specifically refers to Nazis, not Fascism in general, of which there are and have been many stripes. A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.
    Oh, wait, were you trying to be sarcastic?

  198. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:

    “Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.”
    —————————-
    Well, let’s see Don,
    First “we” achieved Godwin’s law. Okay, that’s nice, I mean that “we” did that together. How community-enhancing of us, I might add. But wait, then, in the very next sentence, you pull back from warm sentimental associations with our Davis community and all of a sudden, it’s “you folks” did the deed of making the case for polling places.
    Then, you tediously bring up Godwin’s law, which specifically refers to Nazis, not Fascism in general, of which there are and have been many stripes. A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.
    Oh, wait, were you trying to be sarcastic?

  199. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:

    “Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.”
    —————————-
    Well, let’s see Don,
    First “we” achieved Godwin’s law. Okay, that’s nice, I mean that “we” did that together. How community-enhancing of us, I might add. But wait, then, in the very next sentence, you pull back from warm sentimental associations with our Davis community and all of a sudden, it’s “you folks” did the deed of making the case for polling places.
    Then, you tediously bring up Godwin’s law, which specifically refers to Nazis, not Fascism in general, of which there are and have been many stripes. A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.
    Oh, wait, were you trying to be sarcastic?

  200. Anonymous

    Don Shor writes:

    “Let’s see:
    Polling places have a lively social milieu.
    Oregon voters are different (and don’t care about their children).
    Absentee voters are uninformed.
    Absentee voters are elitist (twice).

    And, of course, we achieved Godwin’s Law:
    Absentee voting is fascist (twice).

    Yep, you folks have really made the case for polling places.”
    —————————-
    Well, let’s see Don,
    First “we” achieved Godwin’s law. Okay, that’s nice, I mean that “we” did that together. How community-enhancing of us, I might add. But wait, then, in the very next sentence, you pull back from warm sentimental associations with our Davis community and all of a sudden, it’s “you folks” did the deed of making the case for polling places.
    Then, you tediously bring up Godwin’s law, which specifically refers to Nazis, not Fascism in general, of which there are and have been many stripes. A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.
    Oh, wait, were you trying to be sarcastic?

  201. Don Shor

    “A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.”

    Voting by mail is likely to increase participation. In NO WAY does it curtail democracy. To call it a fascist attitude is not just a stretch, it is a grotesque distortion.
    ———-
    Vote-by-Mail: The Real Winner Is Democracy

    By Bill Bradbury
    Saturday, January 1, 2005; Page A23
    washingtonpost.com

    While many states were embroiled in fights over touch-screen voting machines and provisional ballots and struggling to find enough people to staff polling places, Oregon once again quietly conducted a presidential election with record turnout and little strife.

    Oregon’s vote-by-mail system has proved reliable and popular. Critics said that vote-by-mail is prone to fraud. But signature verification of every voter before a ballot is counted is an effective safeguard against fraud.

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate contended that vote-by-mail would suppress voter participation. But record numbers of Oregonians registered to vote, and almost 87 percent of them cast ballots.

    Critics argued that vote-by-mail eliminates the communal experience of voting on Election Day. But community activities promoting voting were readily available to Oregonians on Election Day and in the days leading up to it. With two weeks to conduct public education and get-out-the-vote efforts, Oregonians were surrounded by civic engagement reminders. Oregonians have also started a new communal experience: voting at home, showing their children the ballot and talking to them about how important it is to vote.

    Vote-by-mail is voter-friendly, and high turnout in every vote-by-mail election shows that voters like the convenience. Oregonians receive ballots in the mail two weeks before Election Day, allowing ample time to research issues, review and mark the ballot, and eliminating the need to stand in long lines waiting for a polling booth.

    Voters are busy, but voting fits their schedule if they may return their ballot at any time during those two weeks and up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters may mail their ballots or save a stamp by dropping them off in person at any of the official sites located throughout the state. The earlier that ballots come in, the more time election officials have to check for any problems and to process the ballots to ensure that every vote counts. With a large number of ballots received before Election Day, the first tally released on election night contained nearly 50 percent of the vote and proved to be an accurate predictor of the final numbers.

    Vote-by-mail provides an automatic paper trail. Every vote-by-mail ballot is read by reliable optical scan machines, and the paper is available should a hand recount become necessary. Mailed ballots are not forwarded by the post office, and the constant updating of voter rolls provided by returned ballots allows Oregon to have accurate and updated voter rolls without the risk of partisan purges.

    Without polling places, vote-by-mail eliminates the expensive and time-consuming recruitment and training of poll workers. As a result, the cost of a vote-by-mail election is nearly 30 percent less than the cost of a polling place election.

    Centralized supervision and control of ballot processing by elections officials in county elections offices, instead of dispersed polling places, maintains uniformity and strict compliance with law throughout the state.

    An impressive percentage of Oregon’s registered voters cast ballots in this election. Each of those voters can be confident that the mechanism of democracy in Oregon suits their needs, runs smoothly and fairly, and, most importantly, protects their votes.

    The answer to the nation’s voting anxiety is not a national standard that imposes new rules on an outdated system of polling places. The answer is a low-tech, low-cost, reliable and convenient system that makes it easier to vote and easier to count votes. The answer is vote-by-mail.

    The writer is Oregon’s secretary of state.

  202. Don Shor

    “A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.”

    Voting by mail is likely to increase participation. In NO WAY does it curtail democracy. To call it a fascist attitude is not just a stretch, it is a grotesque distortion.
    ———-
    Vote-by-Mail: The Real Winner Is Democracy

    By Bill Bradbury
    Saturday, January 1, 2005; Page A23
    washingtonpost.com

    While many states were embroiled in fights over touch-screen voting machines and provisional ballots and struggling to find enough people to staff polling places, Oregon once again quietly conducted a presidential election with record turnout and little strife.

    Oregon’s vote-by-mail system has proved reliable and popular. Critics said that vote-by-mail is prone to fraud. But signature verification of every voter before a ballot is counted is an effective safeguard against fraud.

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate contended that vote-by-mail would suppress voter participation. But record numbers of Oregonians registered to vote, and almost 87 percent of them cast ballots.

    Critics argued that vote-by-mail eliminates the communal experience of voting on Election Day. But community activities promoting voting were readily available to Oregonians on Election Day and in the days leading up to it. With two weeks to conduct public education and get-out-the-vote efforts, Oregonians were surrounded by civic engagement reminders. Oregonians have also started a new communal experience: voting at home, showing their children the ballot and talking to them about how important it is to vote.

    Vote-by-mail is voter-friendly, and high turnout in every vote-by-mail election shows that voters like the convenience. Oregonians receive ballots in the mail two weeks before Election Day, allowing ample time to research issues, review and mark the ballot, and eliminating the need to stand in long lines waiting for a polling booth.

    Voters are busy, but voting fits their schedule if they may return their ballot at any time during those two weeks and up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters may mail their ballots or save a stamp by dropping them off in person at any of the official sites located throughout the state. The earlier that ballots come in, the more time election officials have to check for any problems and to process the ballots to ensure that every vote counts. With a large number of ballots received before Election Day, the first tally released on election night contained nearly 50 percent of the vote and proved to be an accurate predictor of the final numbers.

    Vote-by-mail provides an automatic paper trail. Every vote-by-mail ballot is read by reliable optical scan machines, and the paper is available should a hand recount become necessary. Mailed ballots are not forwarded by the post office, and the constant updating of voter rolls provided by returned ballots allows Oregon to have accurate and updated voter rolls without the risk of partisan purges.

    Without polling places, vote-by-mail eliminates the expensive and time-consuming recruitment and training of poll workers. As a result, the cost of a vote-by-mail election is nearly 30 percent less than the cost of a polling place election.

    Centralized supervision and control of ballot processing by elections officials in county elections offices, instead of dispersed polling places, maintains uniformity and strict compliance with law throughout the state.

    An impressive percentage of Oregon’s registered voters cast ballots in this election. Each of those voters can be confident that the mechanism of democracy in Oregon suits their needs, runs smoothly and fairly, and, most importantly, protects their votes.

    The answer to the nation’s voting anxiety is not a national standard that imposes new rules on an outdated system of polling places. The answer is a low-tech, low-cost, reliable and convenient system that makes it easier to vote and easier to count votes. The answer is vote-by-mail.

    The writer is Oregon’s secretary of state.

  203. Don Shor

    “A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.”

    Voting by mail is likely to increase participation. In NO WAY does it curtail democracy. To call it a fascist attitude is not just a stretch, it is a grotesque distortion.
    ———-
    Vote-by-Mail: The Real Winner Is Democracy

    By Bill Bradbury
    Saturday, January 1, 2005; Page A23
    washingtonpost.com

    While many states were embroiled in fights over touch-screen voting machines and provisional ballots and struggling to find enough people to staff polling places, Oregon once again quietly conducted a presidential election with record turnout and little strife.

    Oregon’s vote-by-mail system has proved reliable and popular. Critics said that vote-by-mail is prone to fraud. But signature verification of every voter before a ballot is counted is an effective safeguard against fraud.

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate contended that vote-by-mail would suppress voter participation. But record numbers of Oregonians registered to vote, and almost 87 percent of them cast ballots.

    Critics argued that vote-by-mail eliminates the communal experience of voting on Election Day. But community activities promoting voting were readily available to Oregonians on Election Day and in the days leading up to it. With two weeks to conduct public education and get-out-the-vote efforts, Oregonians were surrounded by civic engagement reminders. Oregonians have also started a new communal experience: voting at home, showing their children the ballot and talking to them about how important it is to vote.

    Vote-by-mail is voter-friendly, and high turnout in every vote-by-mail election shows that voters like the convenience. Oregonians receive ballots in the mail two weeks before Election Day, allowing ample time to research issues, review and mark the ballot, and eliminating the need to stand in long lines waiting for a polling booth.

    Voters are busy, but voting fits their schedule if they may return their ballot at any time during those two weeks and up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters may mail their ballots or save a stamp by dropping them off in person at any of the official sites located throughout the state. The earlier that ballots come in, the more time election officials have to check for any problems and to process the ballots to ensure that every vote counts. With a large number of ballots received before Election Day, the first tally released on election night contained nearly 50 percent of the vote and proved to be an accurate predictor of the final numbers.

    Vote-by-mail provides an automatic paper trail. Every vote-by-mail ballot is read by reliable optical scan machines, and the paper is available should a hand recount become necessary. Mailed ballots are not forwarded by the post office, and the constant updating of voter rolls provided by returned ballots allows Oregon to have accurate and updated voter rolls without the risk of partisan purges.

    Without polling places, vote-by-mail eliminates the expensive and time-consuming recruitment and training of poll workers. As a result, the cost of a vote-by-mail election is nearly 30 percent less than the cost of a polling place election.

    Centralized supervision and control of ballot processing by elections officials in county elections offices, instead of dispersed polling places, maintains uniformity and strict compliance with law throughout the state.

    An impressive percentage of Oregon’s registered voters cast ballots in this election. Each of those voters can be confident that the mechanism of democracy in Oregon suits their needs, runs smoothly and fairly, and, most importantly, protects their votes.

    The answer to the nation’s voting anxiety is not a national standard that imposes new rules on an outdated system of polling places. The answer is a low-tech, low-cost, reliable and convenient system that makes it easier to vote and easier to count votes. The answer is vote-by-mail.

    The writer is Oregon’s secretary of state.

  204. Don Shor

    “A Fascist attitude is one which, in general, seeks to curtail democracy, as in shutting down polling places.”

    Voting by mail is likely to increase participation. In NO WAY does it curtail democracy. To call it a fascist attitude is not just a stretch, it is a grotesque distortion.
    ———-
    Vote-by-Mail: The Real Winner Is Democracy

    By Bill Bradbury
    Saturday, January 1, 2005; Page A23
    washingtonpost.com

    While many states were embroiled in fights over touch-screen voting machines and provisional ballots and struggling to find enough people to staff polling places, Oregon once again quietly conducted a presidential election with record turnout and little strife.

    Oregon’s vote-by-mail system has proved reliable and popular. Critics said that vote-by-mail is prone to fraud. But signature verification of every voter before a ballot is counted is an effective safeguard against fraud.

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate contended that vote-by-mail would suppress voter participation. But record numbers of Oregonians registered to vote, and almost 87 percent of them cast ballots.

    Critics argued that vote-by-mail eliminates the communal experience of voting on Election Day. But community activities promoting voting were readily available to Oregonians on Election Day and in the days leading up to it. With two weeks to conduct public education and get-out-the-vote efforts, Oregonians were surrounded by civic engagement reminders. Oregonians have also started a new communal experience: voting at home, showing their children the ballot and talking to them about how important it is to vote.

    Vote-by-mail is voter-friendly, and high turnout in every vote-by-mail election shows that voters like the convenience. Oregonians receive ballots in the mail two weeks before Election Day, allowing ample time to research issues, review and mark the ballot, and eliminating the need to stand in long lines waiting for a polling booth.

    Voters are busy, but voting fits their schedule if they may return their ballot at any time during those two weeks and up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters may mail their ballots or save a stamp by dropping them off in person at any of the official sites located throughout the state. The earlier that ballots come in, the more time election officials have to check for any problems and to process the ballots to ensure that every vote counts. With a large number of ballots received before Election Day, the first tally released on election night contained nearly 50 percent of the vote and proved to be an accurate predictor of the final numbers.

    Vote-by-mail provides an automatic paper trail. Every vote-by-mail ballot is read by reliable optical scan machines, and the paper is available should a hand recount become necessary. Mailed ballots are not forwarded by the post office, and the constant updating of voter rolls provided by returned ballots allows Oregon to have accurate and updated voter rolls without the risk of partisan purges.

    Without polling places, vote-by-mail eliminates the expensive and time-consuming recruitment and training of poll workers. As a result, the cost of a vote-by-mail election is nearly 30 percent less than the cost of a polling place election.

    Centralized supervision and control of ballot processing by elections officials in county elections offices, instead of dispersed polling places, maintains uniformity and strict compliance with law throughout the state.

    An impressive percentage of Oregon’s registered voters cast ballots in this election. Each of those voters can be confident that the mechanism of democracy in Oregon suits their needs, runs smoothly and fairly, and, most importantly, protects their votes.

    The answer to the nation’s voting anxiety is not a national standard that imposes new rules on an outdated system of polling places. The answer is a low-tech, low-cost, reliable and convenient system that makes it easier to vote and easier to count votes. The answer is vote-by-mail.

    The writer is Oregon’s secretary of state.

  205. Anonymous

    The Oregon Sec’y of State says 87% of those who registered to vote voted. But what percentage of voting age Oregonians does that number of registerd voters represent?

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate raises some interesting points, of which the suggestion that polling places be abolished is symptomatic:

    “For nearly the past 25 years, I have been looking at … the growing disinclination of Americans to vote and otherwise participate in the political life of their nation…

    –Not only has there been a 25 percent decline in voting [since 1973], but also a 50 percent decline in political involvement as measured by campaign activities engaged in over the last four decades. In 1973, a majority of Americans signed a petition, made a speech, wrote an article, or sent a letter to a public official or to the editor of a newspaper. By 1994, a majority engaged in none of these activities.

    –Despite a proliferation of social, civic, and fraternal organizations during the last two and a half decades, a modest decline (16 percent) in membership in those organizations as a totality and a 50 percent decline (between 1973-1994) in active participation, as measured by those who took any leadership role, has occurred. In 1973, two-thirds of Americans attended at least one organizational or club meeting a year. By the late 1990s, two-thirds of all Americans did not attend any.

    –There has been a profound change in the nature of organizational activity in which grassroots membership has been replaced by professionalized national staffs, and local activity and organizational sinew has been supplanted by the giving of money as the sole form of organizational identification.

    –There has been a small decline (10 percent) in church attendance (composed of a substantial increase in attendance at fundamentalist churches and a concomitant steady decline among other denominations), but a 25-50 percent decline in active involvement in church-related activities. Membership in church-related groups has dropped by 50 percent between the 1950s and the 1990s.

    –The percentage of the work force that is unionized has declined from 32.5 to 14.1, despite a substantial numeric increase in the number of Americans who belong to various professional associations; a noticeable decline in the percentage of professionals who join such associations; and a workplace, which, by virtue of downsizing, conglomeration, and telecommuting (among the artifacts of the modern competition for maximum profit), provides for a smaller amount of cohesion, personal economic security, and durable interpersonal relations.

    –Despite an increase in the total amount citizens give to charity, there has been a substantial decline in the percentage of both citizenry and the portion of their income devoted to philanthropy and charity; and an erosion in volunteering among every age category, save the old (imbued with another generation’s values and armed with this generation’s advances in medical science and available leisure time) and the young (propelled somewhat by the adoption of compulsory service programs in some school systems).

    –Add to this list: declines in marriage, eating together or discussing anything as a family, entertaining friends at home, participating in group games, social or sporting activities, and interpersonal as well as political trust; and increases in divorce, suicide, watching television and spectator sports, and time spent in solitary commuting or surfing the Internet, among other social indicators–and what emerges is a picture of American society, on levels from family to nation, which has become, over four decades, fragmented, atomized, and lacking the social capital for investment in societal betterment.

  206. Anonymous

    The Oregon Sec’y of State says 87% of those who registered to vote voted. But what percentage of voting age Oregonians does that number of registerd voters represent?

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate raises some interesting points, of which the suggestion that polling places be abolished is symptomatic:

    “For nearly the past 25 years, I have been looking at … the growing disinclination of Americans to vote and otherwise participate in the political life of their nation…

    –Not only has there been a 25 percent decline in voting [since 1973], but also a 50 percent decline in political involvement as measured by campaign activities engaged in over the last four decades. In 1973, a majority of Americans signed a petition, made a speech, wrote an article, or sent a letter to a public official or to the editor of a newspaper. By 1994, a majority engaged in none of these activities.

    –Despite a proliferation of social, civic, and fraternal organizations during the last two and a half decades, a modest decline (16 percent) in membership in those organizations as a totality and a 50 percent decline (between 1973-1994) in active participation, as measured by those who took any leadership role, has occurred. In 1973, two-thirds of Americans attended at least one organizational or club meeting a year. By the late 1990s, two-thirds of all Americans did not attend any.

    –There has been a profound change in the nature of organizational activity in which grassroots membership has been replaced by professionalized national staffs, and local activity and organizational sinew has been supplanted by the giving of money as the sole form of organizational identification.

    –There has been a small decline (10 percent) in church attendance (composed of a substantial increase in attendance at fundamentalist churches and a concomitant steady decline among other denominations), but a 25-50 percent decline in active involvement in church-related activities. Membership in church-related groups has dropped by 50 percent between the 1950s and the 1990s.

    –The percentage of the work force that is unionized has declined from 32.5 to 14.1, despite a substantial numeric increase in the number of Americans who belong to various professional associations; a noticeable decline in the percentage of professionals who join such associations; and a workplace, which, by virtue of downsizing, conglomeration, and telecommuting (among the artifacts of the modern competition for maximum profit), provides for a smaller amount of cohesion, personal economic security, and durable interpersonal relations.

    –Despite an increase in the total amount citizens give to charity, there has been a substantial decline in the percentage of both citizenry and the portion of their income devoted to philanthropy and charity; and an erosion in volunteering among every age category, save the old (imbued with another generation’s values and armed with this generation’s advances in medical science and available leisure time) and the young (propelled somewhat by the adoption of compulsory service programs in some school systems).

    –Add to this list: declines in marriage, eating together or discussing anything as a family, entertaining friends at home, participating in group games, social or sporting activities, and interpersonal as well as political trust; and increases in divorce, suicide, watching television and spectator sports, and time spent in solitary commuting or surfing the Internet, among other social indicators–and what emerges is a picture of American society, on levels from family to nation, which has become, over four decades, fragmented, atomized, and lacking the social capital for investment in societal betterment.

  207. Anonymous

    The Oregon Sec’y of State says 87% of those who registered to vote voted. But what percentage of voting age Oregonians does that number of registerd voters represent?

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate raises some interesting points, of which the suggestion that polling places be abolished is symptomatic:

    “For nearly the past 25 years, I have been looking at … the growing disinclination of Americans to vote and otherwise participate in the political life of their nation…

    –Not only has there been a 25 percent decline in voting [since 1973], but also a 50 percent decline in political involvement as measured by campaign activities engaged in over the last four decades. In 1973, a majority of Americans signed a petition, made a speech, wrote an article, or sent a letter to a public official or to the editor of a newspaper. By 1994, a majority engaged in none of these activities.

    –Despite a proliferation of social, civic, and fraternal organizations during the last two and a half decades, a modest decline (16 percent) in membership in those organizations as a totality and a 50 percent decline (between 1973-1994) in active participation, as measured by those who took any leadership role, has occurred. In 1973, two-thirds of Americans attended at least one organizational or club meeting a year. By the late 1990s, two-thirds of all Americans did not attend any.

    –There has been a profound change in the nature of organizational activity in which grassroots membership has been replaced by professionalized national staffs, and local activity and organizational sinew has been supplanted by the giving of money as the sole form of organizational identification.

    –There has been a small decline (10 percent) in church attendance (composed of a substantial increase in attendance at fundamentalist churches and a concomitant steady decline among other denominations), but a 25-50 percent decline in active involvement in church-related activities. Membership in church-related groups has dropped by 50 percent between the 1950s and the 1990s.

    –The percentage of the work force that is unionized has declined from 32.5 to 14.1, despite a substantial numeric increase in the number of Americans who belong to various professional associations; a noticeable decline in the percentage of professionals who join such associations; and a workplace, which, by virtue of downsizing, conglomeration, and telecommuting (among the artifacts of the modern competition for maximum profit), provides for a smaller amount of cohesion, personal economic security, and durable interpersonal relations.

    –Despite an increase in the total amount citizens give to charity, there has been a substantial decline in the percentage of both citizenry and the portion of their income devoted to philanthropy and charity; and an erosion in volunteering among every age category, save the old (imbued with another generation’s values and armed with this generation’s advances in medical science and available leisure time) and the young (propelled somewhat by the adoption of compulsory service programs in some school systems).

    –Add to this list: declines in marriage, eating together or discussing anything as a family, entertaining friends at home, participating in group games, social or sporting activities, and interpersonal as well as political trust; and increases in divorce, suicide, watching television and spectator sports, and time spent in solitary commuting or surfing the Internet, among other social indicators–and what emerges is a picture of American society, on levels from family to nation, which has become, over four decades, fragmented, atomized, and lacking the social capital for investment in societal betterment.

  208. Anonymous

    The Oregon Sec’y of State says 87% of those who registered to vote voted. But what percentage of voting age Oregonians does that number of registerd voters represent?

    Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate raises some interesting points, of which the suggestion that polling places be abolished is symptomatic:

    “For nearly the past 25 years, I have been looking at … the growing disinclination of Americans to vote and otherwise participate in the political life of their nation…

    –Not only has there been a 25 percent decline in voting [since 1973], but also a 50 percent decline in political involvement as measured by campaign activities engaged in over the last four decades. In 1973, a majority of Americans signed a petition, made a speech, wrote an article, or sent a letter to a public official or to the editor of a newspaper. By 1994, a majority engaged in none of these activities.

    –Despite a proliferation of social, civic, and fraternal organizations during the last two and a half decades, a modest decline (16 percent) in membership in those organizations as a totality and a 50 percent decline (between 1973-1994) in active participation, as measured by those who took any leadership role, has occurred. In 1973, two-thirds of Americans attended at least one organizational or club meeting a year. By the late 1990s, two-thirds of all Americans did not attend any.

    –There has been a profound change in the nature of organizational activity in which grassroots membership has been replaced by professionalized national staffs, and local activity and organizational sinew has been supplanted by the giving of money as the sole form of organizational identification.

    –There has been a small decline (10 percent) in church attendance (composed of a substantial increase in attendance at fundamentalist churches and a concomitant steady decline among other denominations), but a 25-50 percent decline in active involvement in church-related activities. Membership in church-related groups has dropped by 50 percent between the 1950s and the 1990s.

    –The percentage of the work force that is unionized has declined from 32.5 to 14.1, despite a substantial numeric increase in the number of Americans who belong to various professional associations; a noticeable decline in the percentage of professionals who join such associations; and a workplace, which, by virtue of downsizing, conglomeration, and telecommuting (among the artifacts of the modern competition for maximum profit), provides for a smaller amount of cohesion, personal economic security, and durable interpersonal relations.

    –Despite an increase in the total amount citizens give to charity, there has been a substantial decline in the percentage of both citizenry and the portion of their income devoted to philanthropy and charity; and an erosion in volunteering among every age category, save the old (imbued with another generation’s values and armed with this generation’s advances in medical science and available leisure time) and the young (propelled somewhat by the adoption of compulsory service programs in some school systems).

    –Add to this list: declines in marriage, eating together or discussing anything as a family, entertaining friends at home, participating in group games, social or sporting activities, and interpersonal as well as political trust; and increases in divorce, suicide, watching television and spectator sports, and time spent in solitary commuting or surfing the Internet, among other social indicators–and what emerges is a picture of American society, on levels from family to nation, which has become, over four decades, fragmented, atomized, and lacking the social capital for investment in societal betterment.

  209. Eternal Optimist

    Good grief, what a grim picture of Americans. Perhaps Americans have not found traditional organizations worth joining anymore because they see that it hasn’t acheived what is promised, so have chosen to go in a different direction. This blog would be a case in point. Many have gone away from reading the Davis Enterprise becasue they feel this newspaper is not satisfying their need for real news.

    As for mail-in ballots, if they are such a wonderful thing, then why haven’t more people embraced them? If elections are consolidated more, that would solve a good deal of the problem without having to make any significant changes to the way we vote. I do agree that the 87% figure in Oregan is probably misleading.

  210. Eternal Optimist

    Good grief, what a grim picture of Americans. Perhaps Americans have not found traditional organizations worth joining anymore because they see that it hasn’t acheived what is promised, so have chosen to go in a different direction. This blog would be a case in point. Many have gone away from reading the Davis Enterprise becasue they feel this newspaper is not satisfying their need for real news.

    As for mail-in ballots, if they are such a wonderful thing, then why haven’t more people embraced them? If elections are consolidated more, that would solve a good deal of the problem without having to make any significant changes to the way we vote. I do agree that the 87% figure in Oregan is probably misleading.

  211. Eternal Optimist

    Good grief, what a grim picture of Americans. Perhaps Americans have not found traditional organizations worth joining anymore because they see that it hasn’t acheived what is promised, so have chosen to go in a different direction. This blog would be a case in point. Many have gone away from reading the Davis Enterprise becasue they feel this newspaper is not satisfying their need for real news.

    As for mail-in ballots, if they are such a wonderful thing, then why haven’t more people embraced them? If elections are consolidated more, that would solve a good deal of the problem without having to make any significant changes to the way we vote. I do agree that the 87% figure in Oregan is probably misleading.

  212. Eternal Optimist

    Good grief, what a grim picture of Americans. Perhaps Americans have not found traditional organizations worth joining anymore because they see that it hasn’t acheived what is promised, so have chosen to go in a different direction. This blog would be a case in point. Many have gone away from reading the Davis Enterprise becasue they feel this newspaper is not satisfying their need for real news.

    As for mail-in ballots, if they are such a wonderful thing, then why haven’t more people embraced them? If elections are consolidated more, that would solve a good deal of the problem without having to make any significant changes to the way we vote. I do agree that the 87% figure in Oregan is probably misleading.

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