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There has been lots of talk about how important Secretary of State offices are to preserving the right to vote.  Here is one specific example from California.  We have a huge freaking ballot this year, with 13 statewide proposition and loads more local ones.  It has made for some really long absentee ballots.  Mail in voting started Tuesday.  As I was driving to a Bowen fundraiser I heard an interesting piece on NPR.  Evidently, the ballots are so big that it takes extra postage to mail them back.  Bruce McPhereson did nothing to prepare voters for this.  Now they are scrambling to cut deals with the post office and warn voters with extra mailings.  It is a total mess.

Bowen is hitting back.  This is from her press release:

"As our Chief Elections Officer, the Secretary of State, should be a leader in developing contingency plans for everything that could possibly go wrong in an election. Instead, days after thousands of absentee ballots have been sent out across the state, McPherson is now trying to figure out how to let absentee voters know that they may need extra postage to mail in their ballots."

[snip]

"The Secretary of State knew the state portion of the ballot was unusually long for this election, so counties with a large number of local measures on their ballot would have to require their voters to use extra postage to get their ballot back to the county on time," continued Bowen. "A detailed plan to let absentee voters know about the increased postage rates should have been developed two months ago when the November ballot was finalized. Instead counties are scrambling to make deals with the post office to deliver ballots that don't have sufficient postage on them and are sending out additional mail, all wasting valuable tax dollars."

California voters, make sure you know to put extra postage.  Here are the counties effected:  Alameda, Amador, Contra Costa, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Merced, Monterey, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Ventura, and Yuba.

All but Riverside have scrambled to put some sort of a warning on the ballot instructions or the return envelope.

Bowen again:

"I applaud the counties who have been pro-active in terms of letting voters know about the extra postage requirements and setting up a back-up plan with their local post office to make sure voter's ballots are delivered, but it never should have come to this," concluded Bowen. "The Secretary of State should be anticipating these types of problems and solving them before they become an issue, instead of laying it all at the feet of the country registrars of voters and forcing them to scramble for a solution less than a month before the election."

Bowen is doing ok in the polls.  Field shows here with a couple point lead, but she is way down on the money front.  She is not wasting her dough on television ads, which would be lost amongst the other ads filling our TV sets.  Instead she is working the phones, email and mail hard.  You can throw her some turkee over at Calitics ActBlue page.

I had the pleasure to meet her at a fundraiser on Tuesday.  She kidded me about my name tag w/my full name, not hiding behind my nickname.  Needless to say, she is an avid blog reader, though she doesn't have as much these days to read.  Her staff is extremely committed and bright, even if a little tired from running around the state with the Democratic ticket.  She would get my vote on SoCalLiberal's poll, if he had put her there in the first place.

Originally posted to juls on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:51 PM PDT.

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