California’s DMV finds 1,500 more people wrongly registered to vote

VotedMore than a thousand people may have incorrectly been registered to vote in California, according to an internal audit of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles that was reportedly released Monday.

“Approximately 1,500 customers may have been registered to vote in error,” the DMV stated in a letter to the Secretary of State’s office, according to The Sacramento Bee. “This error has been corrected and is separate from the processing error we notified you about in writing on September 5.”

None of those affected by the improper voter registration were illegal immigrants, the agency reportedly said.

The DMV’s director told the news outlet that agency officials “have worked quickly with the Department of Technology to correct these errors and have also updated the programming and added additional safeguards to improve this process.”

Secretary of State Alex Padilla in response said …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

CA Motor Voter Law Registers Twice as Many Democrats

A California law that registers every citizen to vote when they apply for a driver’s license also has resulted in over twice the number signing up as Democrats versus Republicans.

The California Motor Voter Program (AB-1407) was passed in February and became effective in April this year. It has led to a huge spike in voter registration for the three months from June through August versus the comparable period in 2014.

Under the law, each person who applied for a California driver’s license or identification card is deemed to have a “completed affidavit of registration and the person is registered to vote, unless the person affirmatively declines to register to vote.” Juveniles age 16 years and older can also pre-register through the DMV to be eligible to vote at age 18. …

Click here to read the full article from Breitbart.com/California

Let’s Educate the Voters About Proposition 13

VotedThis week, progressive interest groups announced they had sufficient signatures to qualify an initiative for the 2020 ballot that is a direct attack on Proposition 13. Specifically, this so-called “split roll” initiative would raise property taxes on the owners of business properties to the tune of $11 billion every year, according to the backers. Because many small business owners rent their property via “triple net” leases, they too would be subject to radical increases in the cost of doing business.

Although there is a statewide election this November, the “split roll” measure will not appear on the ballot until 2020 because the proponents, either intentionally or not, did not submit their signatures in time for the 2018 ballot. They say they anticipate a better voter turnout in two years, which in itself may be wishful thinking. Ben Grieff, a community organizer with the ultra-progressive group Evolve, also said that the later election would be necessary to lay the groundwork for “a long two-year campaign” and that, “we need all of that to educate people.”

Well, educating people about Prop. 13 cuts both ways. And if past campaigns and polling are any indication, the more Californians learn about Prop. 13, the more they like it.

So let’s start today’s lesson with an overview of a class we’ll call “Why Prop. 13 is Good for California.” Here are the benefits of it in a nutshell.

Prop. 13 limits the tax rate on all real estate in California to 1 percent. Increases in the taxable value of property — often referred to as the “assessed value” — are limited to 2 percent per year. This prevents “sticker shock” for property owners when opening their tax bills compared to the previous year’s bill. Property is reassessed to full market value when it is sold. This system of taxing property benefits homeowners, because Prop. 13 makes property taxes predictable and stable so homeowners can budget for taxes and remain in their homes.

Renters benefit because Prop. 13 makes property taxes predictable and stable for owners of residential rental property, and this helps to reduce upward pressure on rents. If one believes that California’s current housing crisis is bad now, imagine how high rents would be if the owners of the property were forced to pass along their higher tax bills to their tenants. In truth, Prop. 13 increases the likelihood that renters, too, will be able to experience the American dream of homeownership.

Business owners, especially small business owners, benefit because Prop. 13 makes property taxes predictable for businesses, and it helps owners budget and invest in growing their businesses. This helps create jobs and improves the economy. California has ranked dead last among all 50 states in business climate by CEO magazine every year for more than a decade. Prop. 13 is one of the only benefits of doing business in California. …

Click here to read the full article from the Daily Breeze

All of California’s voters are now in one online database

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

A single, instantly updated list of registered voters in California became reality on Monday, as two final counties plugged in to an electronic database mandated by a federal law enacted in the wake of the contentious 2000 presidential campaign.

In other words, a database that was long overdue.

“It’s been more than a decade in coming,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

The $98-million project allows elections officials in each of California’s 58 counties to easily track voters who move from one place to another and to quickly update their records in the event of a death or a voter deemed ineligible after conviction of a felony.

The database will allow voters to check if they are …

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The Upside of Low Voter Turnout

This election, your vote counted double.

“When it’s 50 % turnout, your voting power is doubled #math,” Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc., the state’s top political data firm, tweeted on Election Day.

Increased voting power — it’s one of several upsides to the state’s record low turnout in this month’s gubernatorial election. With fewer than 75,000 ballots left to count statewide, turnout is expected to top out at 42 percent — the lowest for a general election in California’s history. Of the state’s 38 million residents, just 7.5 million registered voters cast their ballots. That comes out to one in five people deciding who will lead the largest state in the nation for the next four years.

California’s abyssal turnout rate demolished the previous record for worst turnout in a general election. In 2002, just 50.57 percent of registered voters chose between Republican businessman Bill Simon and then-Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat.

It wasn’t unexpected. The June 2014 primary turnout of 25.2 percent set a new record for the lowest voter turnout for any statewide election in California; the previous low was 28.2 percent in June 2008.

The low turnout has inspired a round of news stories about how to improve civic participation. “Democracy works better as more people participate,” incoming Secretary of State Alex Padilla told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Excitement around the particular candidates drives much of the turnout, and that’s hard to legislate.”

KFBK recently asked, “What should California do about low voter turnout?”

The question presupposes low turnout is a problem in need of fixing. For starters, California’s voter turnout isn’t evenly distributed throughout the state. In tiny Sierra County, the second-least populous county in the state, 73 percent of registered voters cast their ballots in the Nov. 4 election. That’s more than double Los Angeles, the most populous county in the country, where 31 percent of registered voters participated. Another half-dozen counties — Nevada, Mariposa, Amador, Alpine, Plumas and Marin — all had turnout of 60 percent or more.

2016: Bumper year for ballot measures

In addition to increased voting power for high-propensity voters, the state’s record-low turnout in 2014 will lead to a bumper year for ballot measures in 2016.

“If voters were a bit underwhelmed by the measures on the California ballot … just wait for the 2016 election,” wrote Joel Fox, publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily, one of the state’s top business and political websites. “Already there is talk of potential initiatives on legalizing recreational marijuana, public pension reform, minimum wage increases and a basket full of tax hikes. The machinations around the tax issues could be most compelling just because so many are being considered.”

recent memo from a top-notch public affairs firm based in Sacramento made the case that 2016 could break records for the most number of ballot measures on a single ballot.

“The historically low turnout in the 2014 general election will dramatically lower the number of signatures required to qualify ballot initiatives in 2016,” wrote Rick Claussen, Ned Wigglesworth and Aaron McLear of Redwood Pacific Public Affairs. “But the lower signature threshold and extended collection window very likely will make qualifying initiatives far less expensive than ever before, potentially producing a very long ballot in 2016.”

The threshold for qualifying a ballot measure is based on participation in the previous gubernatorial election. Initiative statutes require valid signatures from at least 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor at the last gubernatorial election, while initiative constitutional amendments require at least 8 percent. Based on current figures, that would lower the signature requirement from 504,760 valid signatures to 365,000.

In other words, just 2 percent of registered voters can get a measure on the ballot — or less than 1 percent of residents in the state.

As CalWatchdog.com’s Chris Reed argued, “That is good news for those considering taking on public employee unions in 2016 with ballot measures putting limits on government pensions or scrapping state laws allowing teachers to receive lifetime tenure after less than two years on the job.”

The Marijuana Policy Project, which is pushing for the legalization of marijuana throughout the country, is optimistic about California in 2016.

“This year’s election was a large step forward, but the 2016 election will be a huge leap toward ending marijuana prohibition in this country once and for all,” Rob Kampia, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement after the election.

Redwood Pacific’s memo outlined other changes to the initiative process that will alter the 2016 political landscape. Under a law passed in 2011, all ballot measures arising from signatures are considered on the general election ballot. Additionally, in 2014, the legislature approved Senate Bill 1253, which will extend the signature gathering period by an extra month, add a public review period for title and summary, and require a legislative informational hearing when proponents collect 25 percent of the necessary signatures.

“For a relatively small investment, a proponent can force a legislative hearing on their initiative,” McLear told CalWatchdog.com.

The low threshold won’t last forever. As KQED’s John Myers recently pointed out, “The new low bar for initiatives will last only for two election cycles.”

Probolsky Research: “Surprises may be the norm”

It’s no coincidence that California’s record-low turnout was matched by a record number of legislative upsets. An incumbent Democratic state lawmaker hadn’t lost reelection in 20 years. This year, four incumbents lost reelection, including Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra’s shocking defeat to long-shot Democrat Patty Lopez.

One of California’s top polling firms expects more upsets, courtesy of low turnout and the Top Two elections system.

“Surprises may be the norm,” said Justin Wallin, COO/CMO of Probolsky Research. “Voter behavior is more likely to mimic what we have seen with our jungle primaries, wherein candidates in large fields of contestants can’t rely so heavily on their ballot language.”

Wallin believes candidates need to “ensure that voters arrive at the ballot box intending to vote for them, otherwise they are likely to just get lost in the crowd.”

This article was originally published on CalWatchdog.com

Millennials & Privacy – An Opportunity for Conservatives

It is well documented that the Republican brand has had a difficult time connecting with millennial voters.  In part, the sophistication of the Obama campaign in both 2008 and 2012 enabled the Left’s message to resonate within the ether of social media, a medium dominated by America’s youth ever since its inception.  Seen as aging and uncool, the Republican image can trace some of its ineffectiveness in the last few elections to their inability to connect with younger voters, particularly in urban and campus environments.  Pew Research polls indicate that millennials (roughly defined as those aged 18-34) are the most liberal of any voting block, and approximately half of those in the category identify with the Democratic Party, while only a third label themselves Republicans.

This could soon change, however.

Not because the Republicans have ascertained the best method for connecting with millennials, but rather because there is an issue upon which conservatives and millennials are increasingly in sync: privacy.  The voting block is increasingly becoming more concerned about the government’s intrusion into their daily lives, both with respect to increased drone surveillance and cyber-spying.  This is especially true when millennials become parents themselves, something occurring with greater frequency over the next several years as millennials age into parenthood.  Research by FutureCast, an organization with expertise in marketing to millennials, notes that, once they have children, the group is three times more likely to have significant concerns over internet privacy when compared to millennials without children.  And as their privacy concerns increase, so does their likelihood to identify with conservatives.

Democrats have long been seen as continuing to increase the government’s reach in the average American’s daily life, and this is equally true over basic privacy matters.  California, historically a good barometer of national trends in politics, recently saw its governor veto legislation that would have curtailed the use of unmanned drones by law enforcement personnel for aerial surveillance.   The bill, sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell, would have required agencies to obtain warrants prior to utilizing the technology.  The thought of unmanned drones spying upon Americans going about their daily activities is something that troubles privacy advocates and millennials alike.  Combined with the permanence of digital footprints allowing the government to track an individual’s daily habits, the increasingly advanced “Big Brother” nature of government is starting to become a reality.  As such, millennials tend to look more favorably on the conservative message of caution with respect to big government.

Republicans, inherently skeptical of the effectiveness of expanded government, have an opportunity to connect with millennials over the issue.  As the government’s power to police the skies expands, freedom and liberty for average Americans is infringed.  The issue matters to the next generation of America’s leaders, and conservatives and millennials can increasingly find common ground upon it.

Ben Everard is an attorney and producer based in Los Angeles.