An Introduction to SD Free Press General Election Coverage
By Doug Porter
It’s time to get out the vote again!? For those of us who live in the City of San Diego the November general election will be our third trip to the polls this year.
As we’re learning from watching the voter-suppression efforts succeed in 22 states since 2010, your vote must mean something; otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to take it away from you. Of course, your right to vote means nothing if you don’t exercise it.
Over the next few weeks the San Diego Free Press will be presenting coverage of the candidates and issues we hope will be of interest to progressive-minded voters. While this may not be the most exciting election ever, the results of general elections have a broad impact on how we are governed and how our taxes are spent.
We’re starting nice and early this year with our voter education efforts. No longer can media outlets wait until just before an election. The times they are a-changin’ and today’s elections are increasingly becoming a month-long affair. Today (Oct 6th) is the first day of voting for mail in ballots.
The number of voters mailing in their ballots has steadily increased in recent years, according to the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis. The June 2014 election saw 52.25% of San Diego’s votes cast by mail.
The San Diego County Registrar of Voters issued a 76 page long list of the 671 local candidates for the November 2014 elections. And that doesn’t include local propositions, the statewide propositions and the dozen or so statewide races for office.
Needless to say, we’ll have to pick and chose in our coverage. Our all-volunteer crew isn’t big enough to even come close to covering as many races as we’d like.
The County Democratic Party endorsement sheet includes 79 candidates, plus propositions. It may surprise some readers to find our analyses don’t always match up with the Democratic Party’s views. Frankly, we wish we could disagree more often.
In a state where the GOP is operating at a diminished capacity (ok, they’re a joke) the influence of big money is producing a crop of Democratic elected officials willing to weasel out of key votes anytime the Chamber of Commerce sounds the “job killer” siren on statewide issues.
So excuse us if we damn some of these candidates with faint praise. And we can’t fathom the idea of giving much coverage to the (mostly GOP) candidates who don’t believe in science. So, yes, this will be a very one-sided exercise.
Here’s The Plan (Subject to Change)
Monday, October 6th: Introduction (You’r reading it), Are You Smart Enough to Be a California Voter?(Lori Saldaña), Propositions 1 & 2, and All About Tom T & Betty Yee (Jim Miller)
Tuesday, October 7th: Props 45 & 46 (they’re politically linked) And an overview of the top Eight Statewide races
Wednesday, October 8th: Prop 47 (Ernie McCray), Prop 48, and Escondido’s Prop H.
Thursday, October 9th: Two Women Worth Watching: Carol Kim and Olga Diaz (Don Greene).
Friday, October 10th: Various Legislative races, with one article on US Congress and one on the California Legislature, Escondido Mayoral Debate (Rick Moore)
There will be more, but this is what we’re sure of now. (With an all-volunteer organization, a bird in the hand is all we can count on!)
The League of Women Voter’s Smart Voter website offers links to just about every major candidate and issue you might want to look into this year.
The State of California Voter Information Guide (that newsprint booklet you got in the mail back in September) is mostly viewable as pdf files, which can be slow to load and hard to read on mobile devices.
Maplight’s Voter’s Edge site gives you information based on your home address about major statewide candidates and propositions–it is especially good if you want to “follow the money.”
Project Vote Smart allows you research any politician and any issue, provided you know what it is you’re looking for. For instance, I typed in “Darrell Issa” and quickly learned that he’s got $3,373,667.67 stashed away for campaigning in a district that’s overwhelmingly Republican. (Why? Because he can.)
Green Party Endorsements: Green Party of of San Diego
Libertarian Party Endorsements: San Diego Libertarian Party
Dates to Remember
October 20, 2014 Last day to register to vote
October 28, 2014 Last day to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by mail
November 4, 2014 Election Day Polls are open 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
San Diego County Registrar of Voters: registration status | vote-by-mail ballot status | sample ballot | polling place
How You Can Make a Difference (Even if you don’t care)
Between now and election day we’ll all hear lots of ads urging us to get out and vote. And a couple minutes later we’ll see ads with gerbils dressed up as candidates promising to spin their exercise wheels faster than the opposition hamsters.
It can be very discouraging. But here’s a little secret about voting: nobody says you have to fill out the entire ballot. There is no law saying you can’t vote for only one candidate or only one issue if that’s all you’re motivated to do. So if all the political noise seems a little overwhelming (or repulsive), tune it out and vote for what’s important to you.
(The Monday thru Friday Starting Line Column will be on hiatus thru October 12th.)