Register to Vote Online Now! Deadline is Monday at Midnight

Yo, time’s a wastin’.

If you want to vote on November 6, it’s time to register. Because the deadline is Monday night, midnight.

Here in public radio, we are big fans of engagement in the political process. We’ve been working hard to bring you informative stories, an awesome Propositions Guide, and, every now and then, quirky entertaining election tidbits.

So, click on this link. Or the attractive “register to vote” graphic. You can register to vote online in about 60 seconds. If you have ever complained about politics in this country, it’s time to make your voice heard.

Register, then vote on November 6.

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Another Fallout From the Foreclosure Crisis: Voting

By Rachel Dornhelm

In South Merced, foreclosure hit this neighborhood hard. All but two homes have been foreclosed upon, a neighbor says. Hook ups in this empty lot mark where another home was never built. (Photo: Rachel Dornhelm)

All but two homes in this South Merced neighborhood have been foreclosed on, a neighbor says. Hook ups in this empty lot mark where another home was never built. (Photo: Rachel Dornhelm)

At a suburban development in South Merced, sidewalks and electrical hook ups are signs that houses were to be built here. At one of the first full blocks of homes, I knock and Dina Gonzalez opens the door. She runs an in-home day care, her bright personality matches the center’s primary colored walls.

But stepping outside she grows more somber. Gonzalez points at a row of neat stucco houses and says that nearly all of them have been foreclosed on.

“Just me and the person at the end is the ones that kinda saved our home,” Gonzalez says. “But back there, the other line, most of these three lines, most of the people is new. … Across the street this family lost their house, and she lost her job, too. So she couldn’t afford — not even rent an apartment. So they didn’t have no choice. They were looking, living in shelters on the street by the train.

Losing a house had an effect on voting as strong as poverty or a lack of education.

Gonzalez says she was lucky and got a loan modification. But she’s seen other home day-care providers fold, as families lost jobs and moved away. In the midst of all the upheaval, Gonzalez could see voting was the last thing on people’s minds.

“A lot of the parents and a lot of people in the community start feeling discouraged. They didn’t feel trust in the economy and the system, and it’s kinda hard to be picking up and feeling trust in the White House.” Continue reading

Video: The Proposition Song 2012

Even as we virtually speak, just about the full resources of KQED are dedicated to explaining the ins and outs of all the propositions on this year’s ballot. (The remainder portion of our staff is concerned with the Giants.)

Let’s take Proposition 30, for instance: we’ve got your Proposition Guide, your Forum radio program, your full-length text story… In fact, we like to cover a particular proposition the same number of ways as the numerical designation of that proposition.

On the other hand, for some of you, maybe this is enough. Video from the California Voter Foundation…

In Central Valley, Organizers Aim For Untapped Latino Vote

By Alice Daniel

Daniela Simunovic, an organizer for Communities for a New California, works with Edgar Acevedo and another young canvasser to get out the vote in Sanger, CA. (Photo: Alice Daniel)

Daniela Simunovic, an organizer for Communities for a New California, works with Edgar Acevedo and another young canvasser to get out the vote in the central valley town of Sanger. (Photo: Alice Daniel)

Daniela Simunovic is an organizer for the non-profit group Communities for a New California. She’s advising students who are about to walk a neighborhood to register voters.

“What are you going to do if somebody says they don’t want to vote?” she asks her students.

“Ask them why not?” comes a reply.

“In a friendly tone, of course,” says one of the students.

These canvassers are working in the small Central Valley town of Sanger, where only half of the 12,000 potential Latino voters are registered. And even those who are registered aren’t voting. Just 1,200 Latino voters — out of those 12,000 potentials — cast a ballot in the 2010 election. While Latino voters have become an integral part of California politics, participation lags across the Valley.

More than 250,000 eligible Latino voters in the San Joaquin Valley have not registered

“If we were able to mobilize all the voters, we would really be able to change some outcomes in some elections on the issues that are important for our communities,” Simunovic says.

Those issues, she believes, include propositions on the November ballot. That’s why Communities for a New California is also conducting a fall campaign to inform Latino voters on propositions it feels are key to their interests, starting with labor rights and education. Continue reading

Chart: Where Major California Newspapers Stand on Each Proposition

The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has published a tremendous voter resource. The group created this propositions “scorecard” of the editorial board positions of nine major newspapers across California. Anyone can see at a glance where each paper is on each prop. Once you click on the image, the scorecard becomes interactive and you can click to read each paper’s editorial.

(Image: Consumer Watchdog)

(Image: Consumer Watchdog)

And while you’re researching your vote, don’t forget KQED’s Simple-Understandable-Portable-Shareable Proposition Guide. Get up to speed on all 11 State Propositions in 20 minutes.

What’s at Stake for Obama’s Health Care Law in California This Election?

Photo by Gabriela Quiros, KQED Science

On KQED Public Radio’s The California Report Magazine on Friday, Scott Shafer talked with Marian Mulkey, the director of the Health Reform and Public Programs Initiative at the California HealthCare Foundation, a health-policy think tank (and a funder of the show).

Edited transcript:

SCOTT SHAFER: First of all, the Affordable Care Act has gradually been getting phased in nationwide. Give us a sense of what’s been happening up to now, right here in California.

MARIAN MULKEY, CALIFORNIA HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION: California has implemented many of the early provisions of the Affordable Care Act, making some new extensions of coverage available, for example, to young adults, assuring that pre-existing conditions are covered for children, and implementing many of the early programs — one for people with pre-existing conditions is in place and covering people already.

California has taken steps in terms of planning and establishing a state-based exchange, which is the marketplace by which people will be able to view their choices, identify what’s available for them and access federal subsidy support for buying coverage.

SHAFER: And it’s fair to say California has been further out in front on that than pretty much any other state?

MULKEY: Yes, California was early in determining it wanted to have a state-based exchange and moved quickly, immediately after the passage of the law in 2010 to start one up and to make some initial decisions. Continue reading

Watch PBS Frontline’s ‘The Choice’

After dozens of original interviews and nearly a year of production, Frontline’s two-hour documentary The Choice 2012 goes behind the spin and the slogans to look at who the men running for president really are.

Watch The Choice 2012 on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Two of the documentary’s producers are answering questions in a live chat starting Wednesday morning at 10:30am, PT. Join them live:

The chat has three segments:

10:30-11am: Audience questions for the filmmakers.

11-11:30am: A conversation between the filmmakers and the biographers.

11:30-noon: The biographers discuss the candidates and take your questions on the race.

Find Where to Vote Early County-by-County

SAN FRANCISCO (Bay City News and KQED) Early voting has started all around the state. In San Francisco, residents eager to cast their ballots for the November election can now take part in early voting at City Hall.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Voters can go to the Department of Elections on the ground floor of City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays to fill out a ballot.

The department is also setting up weekend voting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the two weekends prior to the Nov. 6 election, which includes the presidential race as well as other federal, state and local contests.

City election officials have also started sending out more than 200,000 vote-by-mail ballots and recently finished mailing voter information pamphlets to registered voters.

People wishing to vote by mail must send a request to the Department of Elections by Oct. 30.

More information about early voting or vote-by-mail ballots can be found on the department’s website at or by calling (415) 554-4375.

Here are addresses county-by-county where you can now vote in the Bay Area:


  • Alameda County: Registar’s office at 1225 Fallon Street, Rm. G-1, in Oakland.
  • Contra Costa County: 555 Escobar Street, in Martinez
  • Marin County: Marin Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 121, in San Rafael
  • San Mateo County: 40 Tower Road, San Mateo, or 555 County Center, First Floor, Redwood City
  • Santa Clara County: 1555 Berger Dr, Building 2, San Jose. Office hoursvary as the election approaches.
  • Sonoma County: Registrar of Voters, 435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
  • Solano County: Registrar of Voters, 675 Texas St. Suite 2600
  • Napa County: Carithers Building, 900 Coombs Street, Suite 256, Napa. Starting the weekend before the election, Napa County will also set up satellite voting assistance centers, where voters can drop off their ballots or receive new ones if they have lost or spoiled them, or if they need a new envelope.Satellite offices:-Calistoga – Tubbs Building, Fairgrounds Gate 3 – Oak Street-Saint Helena – Stonebridge Apartments Community Room – 990 College Avenue
    -Yountville- Library Reading Room – 6516 Washington Street
    -American Canyon – Public Safety Bldg – 911 Donaldson Way, East of Hwy 29
    -Fairgrounds – 4th and Burnell Streets – Enter on Burnell

Rallying the Afghan Vote in Fremont

By Francesca Segre

Most Afghan-Americans came here as refugees — fleeing war, invasions and political repression. Yet many don’t exercise their right to vote in U.S. elections. The nonprofit group The Afghan Coalition is trying to change that dynamic, and they’re rallying voters in the heart of California’s Afghan population — Fremont.

Francesca Segre/KQED

The group organized a forum recently for Afghan-American voters to meet the four candidates running for mayor of the city. At the event, candidates fielded questions about immigration and how to combat Islamophobia. Aziz Akbari, an 18-year-old Muslim and one of the mayoral candidates, tried to warm up the crowd by introducing himself in Farsi. But the candidates know it’s complicated to encourage Afghan voter turnout.

Many Afghans are reluctant to vote because they were never given a chance to in their homeland. Continue reading

Election Road Trip: Central Coasters Hungry For Substance, Sick of Campaign Negativity

The election is just over a month away now, and unlike in the past, California has multiple Congressional seats — nearly a dozen, in fact — where the outcome is truly up in the air. As part of our election series “What’s Government For?” we’re out to hear what voters say they want from their elected officials.

Lois Capps and Abel Maldonado at a debate (Scott Shafer/KQED)

We’re hitting the road, or should I say the beach, on the Central Coast, where a hotly contested congressional race is under way. The new 24th Congressional District includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, plus a small part of northern Ventura County. One person told me that living here is like being in a National Geographic Magazine — it’s that beautiful.

As I walk along the beach near Morro Bay, I come across two people, Gary Ubaldi and his wife Gail. They both say they’re registered Democrats, but he says they’re open-minded.

“I believe I’m very open-minded,” Ubaldi says. “I know my wife is. I mean she listens to both sides of every argument and would vote for who she felt was the best candidate, period. Regardless of party.” Continue reading