Elections in California Are a Farce, Part III

J. S. ScifoUndesignated 4 Comments

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Lo and Behold!  Here I am opining on the farcical nature of California elections and Governor Newsom goes and makes the case for me.

Two Fridays ago, Politico reported that Newsom was embarking on a “post-election ballot mobilization” in an effort to save Prop 1, his effort to address homelessness in California.  That maneuver entailed reaching out to Democratic voters whose mail-in ballots had been rejected and was organized by the governor’s federal PAC, Campaign for Democracy.

Over at Red State, Jennifer Van Laar extrapolates just what all was entailed in this push. In essence, it involves the kind of “get out the vote” efforts (educating, organizing, canvassing) that used to PRECEDE Election Day.

And it bears repeating that this outreach was only conducted on behalf of Democratic ballots. The rejected ballots of other party members—which may also have marked Yes for Prop 1—were left to molder. So, this wasn’t about making every vote count.

As I wrote at the California Globe a few weeks back (and as others have noted), the passage of Prop 1 is crucial to Newsom’s plan to run for president.  He simply cannot run a competitive race for president when parts of Los Angeles and San Francisco—the nation’s premier cities after New York and Chicago—resemble dystopian hellscapes.

To that end, as Emily Hoeven with the San Francisco Chronicle noted even before the ballot harvesting effort came to light:

“[Newsom] strong-armed state lawmakers into postponing other initiatives originally set to appear on the March 5 primary ballot so that Prop. 1 would have voters’ undivided attention.  He effectively silenced any organized opposition by exerting his influence as the state’s most powerful elected official.  And his ballot measure committee supporting Prop. 1 spent more than $12 million promoting it…”

In the end, Prop 1 passed by just .3 percent.

In olden times, voting was a straightforward proposition:  you walked into a polling station; they gave you a piece of paper; you filled it out, returned it, and left.  Your relationship with your ballot ended at that point.

Now, thanks to the emergency measures of the COVID-era, filling out and returning your ballot is only the beginning of the voting process.  Now, at any time in the voting cycle (which could be days or even weeks after Election Day), you may be called upon to rescue your ballot from a murky fate.  It gives a whole new meaning to democracy in action.

To some, this may seem like a wonderful innovation in DEMOCRACY!  To me it looks like a system ripe for fraud and abuse.

The efforts to save Prop 1 are exactly the kind of ballot “curating” that vote-by-mail skeptics are referring to when they allege that the voting keeps going until the desired result is achieved.  Even Politico called the attempt “a remarkable ploy.”

Now, I imagine that there are those who will argue that this is no different than candidates and parties putting lawyers on the ground after a disputed election (of the old sort).  But it is.

In that example, lawyers and other advocates work to ensure that valid ballots cast are counted.

In the Prop 1 example, and the example we see in many elections now, the election professionals are intervening to ensure that INVALID ballots are counted.

Sure, one could argue that requirements such as signing a ballot are mere technicalities.  I would call them security measures.  Which are all the more important now that ballots are distributed hither and yon without any official supervision.

Curating, harvesting, massaging, mobilization—whatever one wants to call it—none of it would be possible without the proliferation of the mail-in ballot.

I guess if there were evidence of fraud or a hanging-chad situation, such tactics would be a bit more palatable.  But this was just a blatant power ploy.

We have entered a new age where voting is just a formality to legitimize forgone results, or as I stated in my first piece on the subject, “a form of playacting where we collectively pretend that The People participate in a legitimate system.”

This time a governor took extraordinary measures for a “good cause.”  Next time, a governor will intervene in the ballot count to help himself.

J.S. Scifo is a North County resident who has worked in national and state politics.  You can also follow him at J.S. Scifo on Substack | Substack.

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Comments 4

  1. So, why are we not indicting Newsom for the crimes that Trump is being charged with? I thought that this type of searching for votes was illegal and sets off all kinds of legal cases.

  2. Same thing all democrats in every state are doing to make our constitution and true democracy go away for socialism so they stay in power forever, soon we will all be in lines for bread, flour, milk etc. welcome to the new land of the free?

  3. I to sent my ballot in and got a paper back telling me that my signature didn’t match and I am a republican. Yes I voted for Trump and voted no on his bill because I know it’s not for homeless it’s to put in the Democrat pocket and for the illegals to have free everything. We need to put america first not last. Trump 2024.

  4. Governor Newsom is only practicing good politics. Nothing stopped any other group from doing the same thing. You are just angry that you didn’t think of it first.

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