Sunday, March 29, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Voter plan a political time bomb

elias column sig

By
From page A13 | December 05, 2012 |

A time bomb that could bring major changes to California politics has been set in place and is very likely to become explosive before the next presidential election.

Right now, Democrats are licking their chops over the potential benefits they expect from same-day voter registration, a practice that’s been allowed in nine other states and will become the norm here the year after the secretary of state, California’s top election official, certifies a new high-tech voter registration database. That will take several more years, but most likely will be done before the fall of 2016.

Same-day registration is a system hated just now by Republicans, who say it will invite fraud even though ballots cast by same-day registrants will be considered provisional, with election officials in all counties having until the end of the election canvassing period (about a month post-election) to determine whether new registrants were really eligible to vote.

Democrats believe the new system will provide them hundreds of thousands of new voters, perhaps enough to decisively control several swing districts created in the 2011 redistricting plan devised by the Citizens Redistricting Commission, which got its first test this fall.

They anticipate that myriad citizens who have been uninvolved and not interested enough in government to register to vote by the current deadline two weeks prior to Election Day will take heed at the last minute and go vote.

Republicans, meanwhile, see the practice as inviting illegal immigrants and shady sorts into the voting booth. For one example, they ascribe the 2008 election of Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota to “over 1,000 illegal Election Day registrations.” Franken won election by fewer votes than that.

The predicted effects of same-day registration are reminiscent of what so-called experts believed in 1976, when California OK’d unlimited voting by absentee ballot. Previously, absentee voters had to certify they were either too ill to vote in person or would be away on Election Day. The practice has grown to the extent that almost half of all ballots here this fall were cast by mail, voters getting the chance to mark their ballots as they made up their minds proposition by proposition and candidate by candidate.

Republicans licked their chops at the prospect of all those absentee ballots, knowing they had always before dominated the smallish mail vote because the GOP has traditionally done better among high-wealth groups that travel a fair amount.

That’s how it went, too, for the first six years or so of unlimited absentees. Then Democrats learned how to stage ballot-marking parties and began to send absentee voter applications to targeted groups, many of whom were registered but didn’t vote very often. Gradually, Democrats began winning more and more mail votes, until these days they consistently take a majority of them statewide.

Might this work in reverse with same-day registration, with Republicans figuring out new ways to entice party sympathizers who don’t often vote to come out at the last moment? There’s every possibility for that.

A similar delayed reaction was already felt this fall from Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2011 signature on a bill allowing online voter registration for anyone who already has a signature on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Again, Republicans lamented potential fraud, as 22,000 people registered by computer on the first day it was possible last September. By the registration deadline, almost 1 million new voters had been added to the rolls this way, mostly among people who found registering in person inconvenient.

Legislative Republicans voted against this step, but it may turn out to benefit the party in the long run, again because of that wealth factor: It takes a certain modicum of cash or credit to buy a computer and get online with it. That’s probably why most online polls taken without randomized sampling come out favoring the conservative side of whatever issue is up for question.

Just as no one could anticipate the eventual impact of unlimited absentee voting, no one can now be certain who will be the long-term beneficiary of the newly liberalized voting laws. It all depends on who comes up with the best system for taking advantage of the system to register and turn out voters who might lean their way.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Vanden High library project nears completion

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vanden girls end stellar season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Cheers for Jupiter – and roller derby

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

 
Vacaville police make arrest after pursuit

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

Red Cross volunteers help assemble first aid kits

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
PG&E helps replace stolen equipment

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Justin-Siena names new principal

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Free paper shredding option returns to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Vacaville bridal, quinceanera show a hit

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Event benefits child who attends Cambridge School

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Best barometer of investment success: Wealth

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

 
Tips on hydrozoning your garden

By Tina Saravia | From Page: B8, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

 
Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Crash victim’s father calls for more focus on pilot welfare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Popular Yosemite National Park lookout opens early in season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Pope finds popularity and dissent at 2-year mark

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Truth does not change

By The Rev. Art Zacher | From Page: C3, 5 Comments

Horoscopes: March 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

 
Daughter choses stepdad over father to walk her down the aisle

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second Julie Andrews memoir expected in 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Chrissie Hynde memoir coming in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

.

Sports

 
Warriors beat Bucks 108-95, clinch top seed in West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after 85-78 win over Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Power leads Penske sweep in qualifying for IndyCar opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Revolution win first of season, beating Earthquakes 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jenest pitches SCC baseball team to shutout of Contra Costa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

AP sources: Texas fires coach Barnes after 17 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kazmir, Quintana both strong; A’s beat White Sox 10-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Zunino homers twice, but Giants rally to edge Mariners 9-8

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon, Earnhardt among the winners and fans of Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prince Bishop wins Dubai World Cup, California Chrome 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams easily wins opening match at Miami Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker leads hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

A glance at women in leadership roles in business worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
For business, more women in charge means bigger profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

US drillers scrambling to thwart OPEC threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Betty Mason

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Tiffany Lyn (Helzer) Kemp

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
James Lee Lewis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics