Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing stories and editing them for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis
Displaced voters who vote by email or fax must follow up with a mailed-in ballot. (Ho John Lee: Flickr)
Because so many New Jersey voters are displaced by Hurricane Sandy, government officials are permitting online or fax voting — with a back up paper ballot. Computer technology and voter security experts say the rest of us shouldn’t get too excited that we’ll have this option any time soon. As the Washington Post reports, security concerns are too significant for online voting to be implemented more broadly:
Researchers said there is little to stop anyone from creating new e-mail accounts under the names of residents of disaster-hit areas such as Atlantic City and pretending to cast votes for them.
“How do you know that person is really who they claim to be? If a server receives e-mail, how do you verify the authenticity of that voter? It’s a big challenge, particularly in an ad hoc situation like this,” said Ron Rivest, a professor of computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Post further reports that displaced voters in New York will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at any polling place, by order of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A record number of Californians are registered to vote in Tuesday’s election, and we have invited you to let us know how your voting experience went. Many of you responded both online and by phone calls.
UPDATE 7: 39 p.m.: We’ve received nearly 100 submissions from voters throughout California. Here are some of their stories:
Elaine Connolly voted at Fire Station 26 in Castro Valley: “Night time, at the Lucille entrance no lights, no flags or bunting or signs to alert people of a voting place though it was being held in the gym. The volunteers weren’t helpful, gave me wrong directions, delays because I was put at wrong table which couldn’t communicate with the correct table. When asked to speak with the ‘boss’ was told she wasn’t in attendance, she’d gone.”
Debi Cortez voted on La Playa Street in San Francisco: “No wait at all the staff were smiling and greeted me as I came in. They seemed well organized and eager to help and very nice. They gave my granddaughter a sticker and she was excited.”
Michael Accinno voted at the Davis Senior Center: “I arrived at my polling station at 7:15 a.m. shortly after it opened, and there was little to no wait. I was in and out within 5 minutes- all in all, it was a breeze.”
Rachael Maier voted on California Street in San Francisco: “I was in and out in a matter of 10 minutes. The volunteers were nice, helpful, and really gracious when some not-so-pleasant voters tried giving them a hard time (‘Why is there no American flag out front? That’s WRONG!’)
Photo by Karl Jagbandhansingh
UPDATE 3:33 p.m.: From KQED’s Aarti Shahani: Karl Jagbandhansingh said he voted at Oakland’s Sojourner Truth Manor, 6015 Martin Luther King Jr Way. He said the only machine that counts ballots at this voting station stopped working around 12:45 p.m. One poll worker – who said he was the inspector – started stacking ballots on top of the machine. Jagbandhansingh said he saw the stack get knocked over and ballots strewn on the floor.
When Jagbandhansingh left, around 1:45 p.m., a woman who was the supervisor just began getting the counting machine to work.
A sample of the online responses we’ve received so far:
Rebecca Petzel of San Francisco described her experience as “positive,” adding “No wait. Lots of space to accomodate many voters at once. I could take my time in the voting ‘booth’ without feeling like I was holding up other voters. Great job San Francisco!”
Tracy Anne Sena, also of San Francisco had quite a different experience. “As I was waiting to sign in, a poll worker was on the phone reporting that many of the names in the middle of the alphabet on the voter roll were missing. I didn’t ask a followup question as she was still on the phone as I finished voting. (Thankfully, I am an ‘S’ and not affected.)
Gayle Strang of Fremont said her polling place is “in my living room; I voted by absentee mail in ballot.” She says absentee voting gave her “time to research and discuss with my family.”
We also asked if voters experiences had been generally positive or negative. Our colleagues at KPCC have mapped the responses we received so far by polling place. The red markers are negative experiences, the green are positive experiences.
In addition, we had some compelling stories left by voicemail and you can listen here:
POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (AP) — Election Day turnout was heavy Tuesday in several storm-ravaged areas in New York and New Jersey, a welcome change from crisis to catharsis for many who saw exercising their civic duty as a sign of normalcy amid lingering devastation.
Lines were long in Point Pleasant, N.J., where residents from the Jersey Shore communities of Point Pleasant Beach and Mantoloking had to cast their ballots due to damage in their hometowns.
Many there still have no power eight days after Sandy pummeled the shore.
Fewer than 100 polling places around the state were without power compared with 800 just days ago.
Sarah Brewster of Long Beach, N.Y., was shaken when she entered a school to vote. She noticed that the clocks were all stopped at 7:27. That’s the time one week ago Monday when everyone in her community had lost power. Tears streamed down her face as she emerged from the school cafeteria. Brewster, who works at a nonprofit, said voting is “part of our civic responsibility in the midst of all this crisis.”
Retired customer service agent Joan Andrews, who fled her trailer in Moonachie by boat a week ago, said, “I always have to vote, especially now. Many friends of the 68-year-old woman were too overwhelmed to vote, but Andrews said she’d encouraged them to take the time. Continue reading →
Pedro Rios, Republican candidate for 32nd Assembly District. (Pedro Rios for State Assembly)
Thirty years ago, Pedro Rios was smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico by his uncle. Today he is a citizen and a Republican candidate for the 32nd Assembly District, which includes part of Bakersfield and an area to the north of the Central Valley city.
In between, Rios benefitted from President Reagan’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a 1986 law which provided a path to citizenship for people who had entered the country illegally. Rios became a citizen in 1996.
But these details were not public until late October. While his Democratic opponent, Bakersfield City Councilman Rudy Salas says he won’t make an issue of Rios’ prior undocumented status, people are taking issue with Rios’ refusal to back President Obama’s DREAM Act, a policy to allow young people who have come to the U.S. illegally to apply for legal residency.
Jose Gaspar, a columnist with the Bakersfield Californian talked to Candi Easter, chair of the Democratic Party of Kern County:
“I think it’s honorable that Rios came here undocumented and became a citizen,” Easter added. “But what I find dishonorable is his opposition to the DREAM Act,” she said. The DREAM Act is proposed federal legislation that would grant a path to citizenship for qualified undocumented youth in this country. And in fact, Rios admits he is against the legislation, saying he wants comprehensive immigration reform instead. Continue reading →
In a post-Citizens United world, keeping track of money in politics is more critical than ever. Now the great people at Peninsula Press have crunched data from the California Secretary of State — donations to any campaign for-or-against any of the 11 propositions on the November ballot.
Peninsula Press then joined that money data with U.S. zip codes so anyone can look, interactively, at how much money is flowing to proposition campaigns, from California and from across the country. Pick your prop and take a look. How much is the rest of the country donating heavily to props here at home?
Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio (left) and Democratic Congressman Bob Filner (right) are facing off in the San Diego mayor's race. (Images: DeMaio and Filner campaigns)
On a sunny day this fall, Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders walked through a local, bayside park to a podium surrounded by a barrage of news cameras and reporters.
It was a good day for DeMaio. The mayor, a fellow Republican, was endorsing him — despite the two being long time political foes.
“Only one candidate has demonstrated the detailed knowledge of our city that will be required from his first day on the job.” Sanders intoned. “Only one candidate has the focus and the energy that will sustain him through difficult times. That candidate is Carl DeMaio.”
Sanders’ endorsement was followed a few days later by the announcement that Democratic philanthropist Irwin Jacobs was also supporting DeMaio.
But it hasn’t been a bad season for Democratic Congressman Bob Filner either. He’s consistently led in the mayoral polls. Still, as the election draws closer, the outcome is becoming harder to predict. Different polls yield different results. In mid-October one poll gave Filner a seven point lead, while another put DeMaio ten points ahead. Continue reading →
There’s a lot riding on the November 6 election for California’s once prized public education system. With $6 billion in trigger cuts looming due to the state budget deficit, two competing tax measures on the ballot propose to temporarily help fill the gap. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 would raise the state sales tax a quarter cent and income tax on those earning more than $250,000 annually. Competing Proposition 38, sponsored by millionaire attorney Molly Munger, would increase income tax on a sliding scale for those earning at least $7,316 a year.
On Friday, KQED’s This Week in Northern California examined the competing propositions.
Wednesday was the deadline, and now the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court. The watchdog group wants the Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership to release all documents related to a mysterious $11 million contribution, including emails and texts.
At issue is whether Americans for Responsible Leadership violated state law by accepting donations earmarked for specific campaign purposes in California. The group instead sent a letter to the FPPC saying they had no contributors who had specified that their funds be used in state campaigns.
But Ann Ravel, FPCC Chair, says that is not the issue. “The standard of trust is not whether or not (money) was earmarked, but if those contributors knew or should have known the money would have come to a campaign in California.”
The FPPC expects a quick decision by the court. It says the November 6th election is drawing near.
The FPPC is the state agency charged with upholding California’s Political Reform Act which includes reporting requirements about the disclosure of donors supporting or opposing state ballot measures.