Local Elections for Dummies

Sep 252014
San Leandro Talk's Guide to Ranked Choice Voting

2014 Edition Here is the scoop on how to vote and how the votes are counted. San Leandro instituted ranked choice voting  (RCV) in 2010.  This will be our third election using it.  I am a fan of RCV  for a couple of reasons.  First, it saves the city money to only have to conduct one election for Mayor/City Council – rather than an election and then a runoff.  Second, it gives people more of a choice and allows voters to cast “protest” votes without fearing that this will help the candidate they like the least.  Third, it costs less [Continue Reading]

Jun 042014

This is the second open primary that California voters faced, and what I, personally, have learned from it is that voter behavior was pretty much like in a regular primary. To recap: ♦ Name Recognition Matters Greatly Incumbents and candidates with generic names did particularly well.  My guess is that Helen Foster‘s 2nd placing in the Alameda County Superintendent race was due greatly to her name.  Similarly, there can be no explanation for either Leland Yee or Mary Hayashi placing third in the races, ahead of other candidates, beyond name recognition. ♦ Ballot Designation Matters The best explanation for why [Continue Reading]

Oct 162012
Slate Mailers: Or how do you spell "Voter Deception"

If you are a frequent voter, chances are that you will get a lot of political mail this month.  Most will be mailers touting a candidate or promoting or opposing a proposition or measure.  But you will also get at least one slate mailer, probably more.  These mailers come with titles that suggest they are sponsored by specific organizations. “Firefighters recommend,” “The Nurses guide”, “Democratic guide”, etc. etc.  In reality, they are commercial ventures owned by private companies that sell space on their slates to political candidates.  Usually candidates for the top offices are included for free, both because the [Continue Reading]

May 042012

Guillen and Bonta visit our mail boxes, but who makes the best impression? Just got my first mailer from Rob Bonta, after getting four or five from Abel J. Guillen.  And for election junkies, here is my analysis 🙂  I’ll post pictures of the mailers after I scan them. Bonta made a bad move by 1) having his mailers delivered after Guillen’s and 2) having them be very similar colors.  Guillen’s is more purplish, but they are too alike.  That means that after so much stuff from Guillen, I almost didn’t look at Bonta’s and just assumed it was another [Continue Reading]

Mar 152012
Endorsements: Do they Matter?

Short Answer: No There are many things that voters should look into when choosing which candidate to vote for, but endorsements from politicians, parties, organizations and even prominent individuals is not one of them.  The unfortunate fact is that most politicos and organizations do not endorse based on the quality of the candidate, but based on factors such as personal ties, political advantage, likelihood of winning and willingness to do their bidding. For Voters: How Candidates get Endorsements Incumbency/Likelihood of Winning Endorsements usually go to the candidate deemed most likely to win, which is usually thought to be either the incumbent [Continue Reading]