DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan
“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
— Thomas Jefferson
Our primary message for the last several weeks will continue to be the importance of your vote. Ballots were mailed out Monday, and two of our groups received their ballots on Tuesday. The rest of us are waiting. We saw on the news that if you do not receive your ballot between Oct. 10 and Oct.15, you must call, or go into the County Elections Office at 4440-A Calle Real.
We cannot encourage you enough to vote!
Last Monday, 227,000 ballots were escorted to the post office by two sheriff’s officials for Santa Barbara County’s 14 cities and towns. These ballots are meant for registered voters only. This would mean 227,000 people vote in SB County out of a population of 446,499.
That means that 219,000 citizens are ineligible to vote because they are underage, or they are not citizens. Other reasons for ineligibility include parolees, the mentally incapable, or due to just a simple unwillingness to participate in voting. However, the numbers do not seem to add up. Normally, a third of any population votes, not 50-50. We are wondering just who is to receive all these ballots? Are the equal numbers of population versus voters a result of the past students registered as voters who are no longer here?
And who tracks if people vote more than once with the same name, in different places? Are you catching on to the theme here?
We are worried about voter fraud. For the first time ever, we are concerned, and we are not alone in our concern.
It appears that no oversight or control exists for the “chain of evidence” of your official voting ballot. Look at some of the 32 ballot drop box locations, the list of which came with your ballot. Locations include Santa Barbara City College; however, it is closed due to COVID-19, and no one is around. So do you vote in the cover of the night?
Some other locations are Carpinteria City Hall or Casa De Las Flores, which is overseen by Peoples’ Self-Help Housing; Isla Vista Foot Patrol; San Andres Hardware in Santa Barbara; MacKenzie Park in Santa Barbara; Manning Park in Montecito; the Solvang Veteran’s Memorial Hall, etc. These locations probably lack security, though some may have cameras.
This vote-by-mail diminishes the importance of a presidential election, nor has this ever been done before. On top of this, voters can download and print their ballot and then mail it. This is known as RAVBM (Remote Accessible Vote By Mail) .
Here is another quirk: 34 polling places in Santa Barbara County will be available for three days before and on the official election day of Nov. 3. Four days of open polling places presents a lot of time for things to go sideways.
Also, assigned polling locations have changed. The location is supposed to be printed on the back cover of the county voter’s information guide, However you probably haven’t received that, but instead have received the state information guide with the overview of the Propositions on the ballot, in tandem with the official ballot.
Another quirky aspect — and out of the ordinary — involves the fact that the County Voter Guide with candidate’s statements lawfully must come BEFORE your ballot. So far the process is off quilter. Ballots were mailed before the candidate statements. Per the Elections Office, the County Guide should arrive shortly.
More doublespeak: The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 19. However, you can “conditionally” register and vote at your county elections office or voting location after the 15-day voter registration deadline. What is a deadline if it does not matter?
Could not a person vote absentee in a location before the election, then vote again when they register “conditionally” in a different place? Is that the same as a country without borders? Is it a country?
Remember last week we spoke of our public records request in search for “lost votes.” We still have not received any answer from the city except for requests for extensions. If you too want to track your vote, go to the Secretary Of State’s My Voter Status online (voterstatus.sos.ca.gov), or call the Elections Office at 805-568-2200.
Did You Know? is studying the Voter Guide we received. However, it contains only the propositions. We wanted to discuss some of our picks, but are still waiting to receive the candidates’ statements.
Please take the time to study all the propositions and all the candidates before voting. Don’t rush. In fact, the ballots are not due until Nov. 3. There are still 30 days to educate yourself and make an informed decision.
Speaking of ramifications of a vote without scrutinizing the consequences: Revisiting the outcome of a vote which was cast during the election November 2017, the one which increased our sales tax to save the city’s critical infrastructure and essential community services, aka “ Measure C.” Transportation’s Rob Dayton is spending $200,000 of “Measure C” money for what he considers improvements to the State Street pedestrian promenade.
These include “temporary” plastic planters at each intersection, tacky string lights traversing the street, green paint for the bike path down the middle of State Street at each intersection, and signs directing the pedestrians off of the promenade and onto the sidewalk, out of the bicyclists’ way.
Rob Dayton appears to have commandeered all the decisions for the State Street Pedestrian Promenade. We wonder why bicyclists, including electric bikes, are garnering such prominence in these decisions for State Street, which holds such historical and diverse interest. Who has invested in these electric bicycles?
Remember when State Street was first closed to vehicles due to COVID-19, to stimulate business downtown? It was presented to the public and the Santa Barbara City Council as the “State Street Pedestrian Promenade.”
Now State Street will host electric bikes, which can travel an average speed of up to 17 mph. Is this the sort of political favor that was noted in the city’s Novak Report, which was an investigation done to discover the problems in the city’s Community Development Department?
The report stated that although the many review boards and commissions were cumbersome, these are the same boards (Architectural Board Review, Historic Landmark and Planning Commission) that have kept Santa Barbara beautiful for many decades.
However, with unilateral decision-making, that all goes out the window.
In fact, Mr. Dayton has said that he should not have to go to HLC for the State Street changes.
Unilateral decision-making — akin to dictatorship.
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy.”
— Ernest Benn
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens. It appears Sundays in the Voices section.