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The Nooner for Tuesday, February 4, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners
IOWA AND CALIFORNIA: Well, that was interesting last night. Maybe we'll learn facts of what happened, maybe won't. We might even learn that there were enough irregularities beyond reporting pace that the whole Iowa caucuses could be thrown out. Nate Silver writes that Iowa may have screwed up the Democratic nomination process.
The good news is that Iowa has a regular statewide race on June 2, including for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Joni Earnst (R). On that day, District of Columbia, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota are holding presidential primaries. So, if there is an iota of evidence that there were irregularities beyond the pace of reporting because of an app and clogged phone lines, there is an easy answer--hold a Democratic presidential primary (counted by government officials) on that date and forget all about the Iowa caucus clusterf*--permanently.
Iowa's misfortune could add to conspiracy theories about California elections. In the November 2018 general election, 12,464,235 votes for Newsom and Cox combined for the final tally. However, only 7,124,146 of those were tabulated on election night, according to news reports. If it takes three weeks to count the "late" ballots, which have to considered on both statewide and congressional district grounds, we're ahead for plenty of criticism for the nation's largest bevy of delegates.
All that said, California's delays come from a meticulous vote-counting system and things such as same-day registration.
I wrote about the process back on November 17, 2018 as the criticism was boiling up.
Simply put, the ordering of ballot counting is as such:
I've had to explain this to some of my elected friends in the Legislature. The process ensures that every ballot is counted, no person votes twice, and signatures are validated on vote-by-mail ballots. If a voter drops a mail-in ballot the mailbox on Election Day but the signature affixed on the outside of the envelope doesn't match the voter registration or the envelope was not signed, the county elections official must provide the voter an opportunity to cure it under Elections Code §3019.
That code section requires county elections officials to mail the voter with notice and an affidavit eight days before certification of the election (April 4 this year), which then must be returned at least two days prior to the certification of the election. With that notice, the voter can try again to match their signature again or show up at the county elections office with identification.
In the November 2016 election, an estimated 33,000 to 45,000 California voters had mismatched signatures according to this court case finding a county elections official erred in not giving the voter the right to cure their signature. As we continue to have increasing numbers of mail-in voters and as many of us rarely sign our name or have a clue how we signed our voter registration card, this challenge for elections officials only increases each election cycle. Following the 2018 court case, the Legislature codified it with a process to be followed by couonty elections officials effective January 1, 2020 by SB 523 (McGuire).
I'd like to get rid of using signatures completely although efforts to do so have been unsuccessful.
THE OUTSIDERS: Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is skipping the early states and focusing on Super Tuesday. Yesterday, he was in Sacramento, Fresno, and Compton. Does that advantage him given the Iowa debacle? Former Massachusetts governor Duval Patrick also skipped the caucuses. Folks are debating the impact and the one thing those of us not paid by a campaign know is that there is no way to know yet. Similar questions surround Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro who ran out of cash amid low poll numbers. This is a crazy year.
BETTER CALL PAUL: For Capitol Weekly, Paul Mitchell reports on the 15 million mail-in ballots largely sent out yesterday and the share of those ballots that will be cast by the time the four states preceding Super Tuesday when California votes..
For Super Tuesday, we are expecting to see an earlier vote than ever before. Over 15 million California ballots are being mailed, mostly today, and we are expecting to see a ton come back in the first week or 10 days.
With three-quarters of the electorate being mailed ballots, we know records will be broken. Based on recent polling, a whopping 75% of by-mail voters say they’re going to vote early. I’m sure they would also say they are going to pay their bills on time and be early to work, but even if this is 60%, this suggests that the early vote will be larger than we have ever seen.
Regardless whether they vote in the first week or the last, we will see a higher share of the electorate voting by mail than in any previous California election.
SB 207 (Hurtado): Speaking of elections, the bill allowing voters to change their partisan preference or address within the same county in writing without reregistering was approved in the Assembly yesterday and is now back in the State Senate on concurrence. As an urgency bill, it would affect the March 3 election.
PG&E: The bill by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to pave the way for a state takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric is SB 927, which was introduced yesterday.
RENT CONTROL: The initiative sponsored by Michael Weinstein and his AIDS Healthcare Foundation as a return to Proposition 10 in 2018 with modifications qualified for the ballot yesterday. Voters defeated last cycle's measure 40.6-59.4%. Opposing this initiative are the apartment owners, the building trades, and others who were part of the AB 1482 compromised and agreed to by the Legislature and Governor Newsom, who contend that the initiative would overturn that deal.
STEM CELL: For Capitol Weekly, David Jensen writes on the LAO's report on the costs of the stem cell initiative aimed for the November ballot, which would recharge the agency with more bond funds.
ORANGE COUNTY HOUSE SEATS: For the Register, Brooke Staggs looks at the cash on hand of the four Orange County congressional seats that Democrats flipped in 2018.
Candidates in four key House races in Orange County have already raised nearly $15 million for the 2020 elections, a sign of potentially big spending this year as Democrats and Republicans vie for seats that flipped from red to blue in the 2018 midterm.
SD13 (San Mateo): There's a new independent expenditure committee supporting Redwood City vice mayor Shelly Masur in the open safe Dem seat to succeed Jerry Hill. The effort is funded by the California Teachers Association ($150k), the California Federation of Teachers ($75k), and the California Medical Association ($75k).
AD72 (Garden Grove-Westminster): An independent expenditure effort to support former senator Janet Nguyen (R) in her challenge of Assembly member Tyler Diep (R) reported yesterday $135,000 for field operations. I also noticed the the largest donor to the IE committee is eccentric Vietnamese-American Kieu Hoang with $250,000. Hoang made is fortune with partial ownership of Shanghai RAAS Blood Products. He now owns a Napa winery and has a thing for beauty pageants.
Cakeday and classifieds after the jump...
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Mark Chekal-Bain, Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, Pamela Lopez, and Chris Valenzano!