Sunday, November 02, 2008

Voting Around Casa Anglachel

I didn't early vote or absentee vote this year because I want to check out the new precinct. My last voting place was an SRO hotel, very grubby, with a great decaying lobby that was always filled on election day with people lounging on the couches and chairs or taking over the hotel counter as impromptu voting booths. The cardboard booths on their rickety metal legs were always full, too. No big machines, no curtains in front of the boxes. San Diego County uses scanned paper ballots but provides touch screens for people who are unable to use a paper ballot. There is a physical trail for our votes.

I once voted there with a Diebold touch screen - what a pain in the ass! Long before we get to the possibility of voting fraud, let's talk about moronic user interfaces. It was the single most confusing moment I've ever had in a polling booth, and I'm in software development and I've voted using punch ballots in a dizzying array of layouts. Touch screens are slow, hard to read, violate standard computer interface conventions and have some of the worst color combinations I've ever seen on a screen.

Anyway, I'm probably going to shift over to permanent mail ballot voting to ensure I never miss a special election, but I like the ceremony of walking into a public polling place and casting my vote. Plus I like getting the little "I Voted!" sticker.

As I said at the end of my Lady Killers post, I have a few new rules for voting. I've never knowingly voted Republican in my life and am not about to start now, but I'm also not voting for Democratic men until they establish their pro-feminist, anti-misogynist credentials by sponsoring and voting for things that directly benefit women, and by publically and strongly fighting against things that do not. Watered down measures don't count.

So who and what am I voting for?
  • Hillary for President as a write-in
  • Susan Davis for the US House of Representatives
  • Christine Kehoe for CA State Senate
  • Lori Saldana for CA State Assembly
  • Mary Graham for SD Community College Board of Trustees
  • Sheila Jackson for SD Unified School District Board of Education
All the other contests are left blank.

State measures:
  • YES - 1A - High speed rail.
  • YES - 2 - Stopping animal cruelty. This was actually tough. I hate PETA and factory farming about equally, but it came down to the well being of the animals.
  • YES - 3 - Children's hospital bond act
  • NO - 4 -Parental notification and waiting period for minors seeking an abortion
  • YES - 5 - Reducing nonviolent drug offenders sentencing, shifting to more treatment and less prison
  • NO - 6 - Police money and power hodgepodge proposition. Too many things stuffed into one bill.
  • NO - 7 - Faux "renewable energy" proposition. Does wierd things to power relationships of major state agencies.
  • NO - 8 - Anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment
  • NO - 9 - Victim rights revenge and hate proposition.
  • NO - 10 - The T. Boone Pickens "make everyone buy my natural gas truck fuel"/Enron Energy Price Gouging memorial proposition.
  • NO - 11 - Change the terms of how redistricting is done in California to guarantee Republicans have veto power over it even after they've lost electoral majorities. Also known as the preserving white conservative voting enclave proposition. Tell you what, kids, when Texas enacts this, we'll give it another look.
  • YES - 12 - Guaranteeing house loans to veterans.

Local measures:

  • YES - Prop A - Regional fire protection.
  • NO - Prop B - Boondoggle for land developers to seize waterfront property
  • YES - Prop C - Uses park revenue for park maintenance and upkeep, not put into the general fund.
  • NO - Prop D - Keep alcohol off the public beaches
  • YES - Prop S - Funding long term infrastructure support for local schools. WiFi in all schools, asbestos abatement, kitchen uprades, plumbing and wiring, etc.

Vote results will be reported late in San Diego. In San Diego County, votes will not be tallied at the precincts this year, but will be taken to a central location (a warehouse near the Registrar of Voters’ office) where they will have a 150 or so counting machines.

This will result in a very high beginning number for Dems given patterns of early and absentee voting (over 1/3 of voters have voted this way) followed by a downward slide as day-of and last minute voters (who, for various reasons, in this county will skew Republican) get physical ballots delivered and counted. San Diego is a huge county. If ballots from Fallbrook, Jacumba, Julian, Mount Palomar, Borrego Springs, etc., have to be driven in to Kearny Mesa, final tallies will be delayed for hours and late votes (again, because of housing patterns in the county) will favor Republicans.

Looking outside San Diego and California, I suspect this will be a pattern in many counties with an urban center and a large suburban ring with rural hinterlands, with urban (easily accessed) votes tallying for Dems and later (slower access) votes pushing up Republican gains. It will look like vote manipulation (and will provide cover for some manipulation) but in fact simply reflects voting habits. I do anticipate states with Republican administrations to challenge early and absentee ballots on "fraud" charges more than usual.


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