Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Vote-by-Mail Begins Monday. What does the early campaign cycle mean for democracy?

Those of you who are registered to vote-by-mail will likely see your ballots on Monday or Tuesday in your mailbox. County Clerk Joe Holland says our county may reach a majority of voters through mail in a Daily Sound article,

Expanded vote-by-mail programs has meant earlier direct mail schedules in recent years. I've already received several from Hannah Beth Jackson's State Senate campaign -- including one that questions Strickland's use of the environmental torch and Erin Brokovich who seems to be an enviro-for-hire when representing Strickland.

It has also meant earlier and earlier fundraising -- which is a problem for some of the smaller races like school board, water board and even city council. Candidates and measures end up having to ask for contributions over the early part of the summer when most of the public isn't concentrating on their race. This will especially be an issue in non-presidential campaign years and makes it harder to defeat self, PAC, Union or industry financed candidates.

Although vote-by-mail programs are great for democracy -- they have an unintended effect of expanding the election cycle. Does it also make it harder, however, for Mr. Smith to go to Washington?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/04/2008 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Remember Names, Anon! said...

If I am able to get into a voting booth on Election Day and have the time to do so, I will never vote ahead of time by mail. Until Election Day occurs, I never know what will develop in the various campaigns, so I like to keep my options open until the last minute. I honestly can't see the appeal of locking in my vote prior to Election Day.

10/04/2008 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Goletaman said...

Well Anon, May I suggest you think about it this way?

The little guys (financially speaking) in an election can't do much TV. Too expensive and not cost effective.

The big guys, (financially speaking) will bomb the airwaves in the last month because they can.

Who wins in this unless you start paying attention much earlier?

One more step in dumbing down elections. Money is the key force in elections given American habits of not thinking until the last two weeks before an election. If you want democracy to be easy, you're kidding yourself. Learn about the issues and the candidates BEFORE the commercials appear.

Sorry about that. It's hard, but unavoidably real.

10/04/2008 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Unions are no "Friends" said...

Nobody watches TV anymore so TV ads are a waste of money. The internet is the great campaign equalizer. Too many people still save all the mailers they get from the greedy union backed candidates from the Friends of the Police or Fireman or Assistant District Attorneys or some cracker group Friends of eduation etc, etc, etc either - all unions. Don't let union money spent on slick mailers influence your vote.

Please voters understand we are being done in by public employee unions who now automatically get their union dues paid to them directly out of the public employees paychecks. And those union dues are used for one thing: demanding more salary and benefits which ALL come from your tax dollars.

Do not fall for any group identifying themselves as "Friends" of any public employee group, including police, fire or teachers. They are already sucking our tax dollars dry and we should not be letting them use our tax dollars for their union dues so they can demand to get us to pay them even more of our tax dollars.

Please voters, think about all of this.

10/04/2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger spitfire squid said...

I've been getting an "absentee" ballot for years, but I don't mail it in, lest I miss some last-minute revelations that might change how I vote.

Instead, I drop it off at a polling place. You can leave those mail-in ballots at any polling place.

Works for me.

10/04/2008 11:17 PM  
Anonymous do-er said...

well, I try to vote within minutes of getting the ballot in the mail.

That shortens the election cycle for me... I can then ignore everything for the ensuing month, and tell phone canvassers and others that I've already voted, don't waste their time.

Works for me.

10/06/2008 9:10 AM  

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