Ballots sent before statements
Statements by Santa Barbara County candidates are going into the mail today, a day after some voters received their ballots.
That’s the word from Joe Holland, the county’s registrar of voters, assessor and clerk-registrar.
“People should be getting them in the mail beginning Thursday,” Mr. Holland told the News-Press Tuesday.
His office mailed the ballots Monday. Some voters received them Tuesday before candidate statements were mailed.
The sequence prompted concern by Assembly candidate Charles Cole, who would have preferred the candidate statements arrived before people marked their ballots.
“I know a few people who vote just based off of the ballot statements,” Mr. Cole, a Santa Barbara Republican running against Democratic candidate Steve Bennett for the 37th District seat, told the News-Press Tuesday.
“I think this hurts all candidates,” said Mr. Cole, who called the county election’s office. “They don’t get a chance to get their voice out before the ballots are out.”
He said it would be more logical to mail candidate statements before mailing ballots.
Mr. Holland said his office received some phone calls about the candidate statements, which he noted are being mailed far in advance of the Nov. 3 general election.
He also noted that voters can review candidate statements at sbc.vote.com.
Mr. Holland said likely only a few voters will cast ballots before the candidate statements start arriving on Thursday. “We’re not expecting a heavy volume.”
He also noted that under state law, candidate statements must be mailed between 10 to 40 days before the Nov. 3 election.
Today is 34 days before the election.
“We’re doing pretty good,” Mr. Holland said.
But Mark McIntire, a campaign consultant for Mr. Cole and a Carpinteria resident, told the News-Press Tuesday that voters should have the candidates’ statements before they get the ballots.
Mr. Cole is seeking to represent the 37th District, which includes parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. It is currently represented by Assembly member Monique Limón, a Democrat who is running against Republican opponent Gary Michaels for the 19th District seat being vacated by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.
Mr. McIntire said Ventura County did a better job than Santa Barbara County with the candidate statements.
“Ventura County did it right,” Mr. McIntire said, referring to the sequence of mailing the information guide on propositions, candidates’ statements, then the ballots.
He said mailing candidate statements after the ballots isn’t fair to candidates who paid to have their statements published.
When asked if the entire issue could be resolved by putting the ballot, propositions and candidate statements together in one big guide for future elections, Mr. McIntire said that would be a solution.
Meanwhile, Mr. Holland is reminding all voters to sign their envelopes when they mail the ballots. “They can use the United States Postal Service or drop them off at 35 new drop boxes that will be unlocked and ready for voting on Monday, Oct. 5.”
Mr. Holland praised the U.S. Postal Service for quickly mailing the ballots.
“I was very pleasantly surprised that we got ballots at my house today,” he said. “I want to really commend the Post Office. They’re doing a marvelous job.”