California's vote by mail ballots are frequently voided

Aug 20, 2014

Voters are opting to mail in their ballots now more than ever, but many are being voided rather than counted. 


Jim Miller reports in The Sacramento Bee: ”Kim Alexander, the voter foundation’s president and the main author of the report, said she is confident that its findings also apply to the state’s 55 other counties. Government, she said, has encouraged people to vote by mail yet its laws and procedures have not kept pace to prevent what she called “a hidden problem.””


““I’ve seen these trays of election ballots stacked up, uncounted. It’s the saddest sight. A lot of work goes into casting those ballots,” Alexander said. “We’ve been building our vote-by-mail process on a piecemeal basis.””


Likely voters are showing resounding support for a ballot measure that would give the insurance commissioner authority to control health insurance rates.


Mark Dicamillo and Mervin Field reports: “There is strong early support for Proposition 45, the “Approval of Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes” initiative that will appear on the November 2014 statewide election ballot. Greater than two in three likely voters (69%) say they would vote YES after being read a summary of its official ballot description, while just 16% are initially opposed. Another 15% are undecided.”


The list is out: Capitol Weekly's Top 100 unelected California political influencers.


John Howards writes: "This year, some people are gone because of retirement – Greg Schmidt and Jon Waldie, for example."


"There are some pretty cool newbies on the list, too, but we won’t name them now. We’ll keep you in suspense."


Ride sharing company Uber enlists former Obama campaign manger David Plouffe as a strategist.


Charles Fleming reports in The Los Angeles Times: “Uber started in California in 2010, and now operates in 170 and 43 countries, Kalanick said.”


“But the company has experienced regulatory pushback in many locations, as legislation has been passed, or old laws have been enforced, limiting Uber's growth.”


“Plouffe, who described himself as an Uber customer and fan, said during a conference call that his job would be a combination of branding, marketing and strategy. He called Uber a "once-in-a-generation company."”

Lawmakers seek to ban sterilizations in California’s prisons.


Corey G. Johnson reports for The Center for Investigative Reporting: “Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, pushed for the bill after The Center of Investigative Reporting found more than 130 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules from 2006 to 2010. Former inmates and prisoner advocates told CIR that prison medical staff pressured women, targeting inmates deemed likely to return to prison in the future.”


““It’s clear that we need to do more to make sure that forced or coerced sterilizations never again occur in our jails and prisons,” Jackson said. “Pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent violates our most basic human rights.””


And California’s segregation of the mentally ill in prisons is also under fire.


Julie Small reports for KQED: “But the practice of isolating inmates whose bad behavior may be part of a mental illness is under fire amid a rash of suicides and attempted suicides. The focus on this type of treatment comes against a backdrop of lawsuits brought by inmates against the state over the last two decades. Those lawsuits have exposed a correctional system poorly equipped to handle their extraordinary needs.”


“Now a federal judge says that kind of punishment poses too great a risk for inmates with serious mental illness who, he says, can and do worsen in segregation.”


The governor’s disapproval sealed the fate of a legislative attempt to put a school bond measure on the November ballot.


Patrick McGreevy reports in The Los Angeles Times: “Buchanan had lined up support for the measure from dozens of influential groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Teachers Assn., the California School Boards Assn. and the California State PTA.”


“It was also backed by the Los Angeles Community College District and Los Angeles Unified School District. Buchanan noted that the last statewide school bond -- $10.4 billion -- was approved in 2006 and money is short to repair and modernize campuses.”


Gov. Jerry Brown says California’s water woes are expected to boost public support for the November water bond.


Chris Megerian reports in The Los Angeles Times: “Brown said the state's ongoing drought helped prod lawmakers into action as well.”


“"A drought gets people's attention," he said.”


“The governor is seeking reelection this year, and he's often portrayed himself as a successful broker when it comes to negotiating with Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature. While he was unable to gain any Republican support for tax increases earlier in his term, he has locked down their support for the water bond and a rainy-day fund proposal.”


A police charity raffles off a semi-automatic rifle and pistol – what could go wrong here?


Teri Sfozra reports for The OC Register: “Several deputy sheriffs’ associations – including those in Orange County and San Diego – sold tickets for the rifle raffle on behalf of another organization (one ticket for $5, five tickets for $20). The grand prize: An AR-15 rifle which, in some incarnations in years past, fell under the federal assault weapons ban, and was on the failed 2013 Assault Weapons Ban’s no-no list.”


“Second prize: A Beretta 92FS pistol, which one gun broker describes as “the most trusted and tested personal defense weapon in history ... with a short recoil, delayed blowback system for faster cycle times, exceptional accuracy and greater reliability.””