January 12, 2009 - the buzz // Groundswell for holding all-mail elections grows
Paper: Orange County Register, The ( Santa Ana, CA)
Title: the buzz // Groundswell for holding all-mail elections grows
Date: January 12, 2009
Author: MARTIN WISCKOL REGISTER COLUMNIST
Fred Smoller, a political science professor at Chapman University, says the county can help address its budget shortfall while spurring voter turnout: Just shut down Election Day polling places and do all voting by mail.
He has pitched the idea to county Supervisors John Moorlach, Janet Nguyen and Pat Bates, as well as Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, saying that Oregon is 100 percent mail-in and in Washington, 37 of 39 counties conduct elections solely by mail.
"It saves (those states) millions of dollars per election, leaves a paper trail, improves voter turnout, and has been well received by voters," Smoller wrote in a letter to Moorlach Chief of Staff Mario Mainero.
The Orange County employees union, which has already seen a round of layoffs, has endorsed the proposal. Union boss Nick Berardino wrote a letter of support to County Executive Officer Tom Mauk last week and estimated the plan would save the county $2 million in each countywide election .
In recent elections, Kelley has encouraged mail voting , as it reduces stress on the polling places and lets him produce more results quickly once the polls close on Election Night. Mail voting has been growing steadily in the county, with 45 percent of all ballots being mailed in for the Nov. 4 election.
Chip Hanlon, a Huntington Beach investment adviser and GOP donor, attracted attention last year for his criticism of congressional spending by Republicans and for saying that he was so dissatisfied with John McCain that he didn't vote for him.
Now Hanlon is criticizing last week's re- election of John Boehner as House minority leader. Hanlon says Boehner hasn't instituted a ban on budget earmarks in his own caucus – and now Barack Obama has beaten him to the mark by calling for such a ban in his economic stimulus proposal.
"Problem is, earmark reform could have been a Republican issue as recently as six months ago. Now the opportunity is gone – poof!" Hanlon wrote last week on his Greenfaucet.com blog.
NBC may be ambivalent about Ann Coulter – canceling and then rescheduling her – but she'll be getting a warm welcome in Orange County. She has sold out the 750-seat East Room for her Feb. 5 lecture at Yorba Linda's Nixon Presidential Library & Museum, and $12 tickets are being sold to a simulcast in an adjacent theater. For tickets, call 714-993-5075.
If it were up to OC Political Pulse poll respondents, Roland Burris would indeed be seated in the U.S. Senate. Democrats are most convinced that the appointee of embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be seated, with 75 percent saying the appointment is legitimate. Republicans are evenly split over whether he should be seated.
To see the poll and to sign up to vote in future polls, visit ocregister.com/pulse.
Record Number: 191822995
Copyright 2009 The Orange County Register