Monday, July 28, 2014

Consistency is Crucial in Campaigns

Is your campaign look, feel and messaging consistent in all media? That is, does your sign have your logo and the same color theme as your website? Do your email blasts to supporters and volunteers use the same look, maybe coupled with a picture of you that is the same as on the website and in your materials?

Does your mail continue the theme with logo, photos and messaging?

Make sure you are consistent in all things to do with your campaign, and you won't confuse the voters, or worse, send mixed messages or give the impression your campaign is sloppy or seat of the pants, not well organized and thoughtful.

Below are some examples of a successful coordinated campaign in signs, website and messaging:

Richard Benson's sign for Assessor in Marin County, California

Benson mail mock up
Benson logo at top of home page

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is it time for uniformity in ballot statement rules?

Did you know that the rules for how you prepare your ballot statement is different all over the state? In California at least. The Election Code only prescribes that:

       ELE §13307. (a) (1) Each candidate for nonpartisan elective office in any local agency, 
       including any city, county, city and county, or district, may prepare a candidate’s statement 
       on an appropriate form provided by the elections official. The statement may include the 
       name, age, and occupation of the candidate and a brief description, of no more than 200 
       words, of the candidate’s education and qualifications expressed by the candidate himself 
       or herself. However, the governing body of the local agency may authorize an increase 
       in the limitations on words for the statement from 200 to 400 words. The statement shall 
       not include the party affiliation of the candidate, nor membership or activity in partisan 
       political organizations. 

This means different counties apply different standards above and beyond this, which sometimes come into conflict with the law. For instance, in Santa Clara you must indent paragraphs but not have spaces between them. You also cannot have more than 22 lines. Other counties format the statements themselves and don't worry about the lines. In Marin County, you may not indent and you must have no more than 4 paragraphs. If you have more, they simply run a few together.

Most Counties prohibit italics, all CAPS, highlighting and bullet points.  But even within counties, different standards prevail depending on the election and the official administering it, from what I gathered looking over some recent published statements.

This can be confusing to a novice, or even experienced, candidate, who try to submit a carefully worded statement only to find he has run afoul of some arcane rule or another.

I think it might be time for some uniform rules for all Counties to follow. Until then, know the rules in your County well ahead of time, then craft your statement accordingly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tip for New Candidates - Verify those signatures!

To run for office, at least in California, you need to collect signatures to put your name on the ballot. It sounds like a simple thing; you get a number (usually) 20 of registered voters in your District, who sign your papers, "nominating" you for the office. The trick is making sure the person is a registered voters, votes at the address they list on the form and goes by that name.

Most Registrar of Voters suggest that you get at least half again as many signatures as required, in case some of them turn out to be "bad."

Here's a case in point: A friend of mine was running for local office and needed 20 signatures. Each and every person she went to was known personally to her. She has no doubt the signatures she handed in were all good. Guess what; they weren't. Of her 20, just one was "bad" because a married woman signed with her husband's name, not her own, maiden, name she was registered under. That one disqualified her from the ballot.

My friend was too late to get more signatures and was not able to run for election that year.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day Six - Recount over!

John Perez has called off the recount. Thank you for listening to the people. Congratulations Betty Yee and on to November!

Move on Mr. Speaker

Move On should start a petition asking John Perez to "Move on" and stop the recount now, so Betty Yee can get on with the General Election for Controller already. I mean, jeesh, the State Democratic Party has given her $50,000 and declared her the winner and endorsed candidate.

What kind of apple cart does he want to upset anyway?

It's time. #stoptherecount.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Perez Fatal Mistake? No Candidate's Statement in Voter Guide

Amazing. John Perez, Speaker of the California Assembly, Emeritus, who has now dragged the Controller's election out beyond mid-July because of his ill-advised recount, failed to submit a candidate's statement for publication in the voter information guide sent to every voter in the State.

True that many voters don't read them, but equally true that some voters read only those statements before making up their mind who to vote for. Could this be the main reason State Board of Equalization member Betty T. Yee, eked out a scant 481 more votes than Perez, despite being outspent three times over? I've seen this simple mistake made by others and the results are clear. No statement shows a disdain for the voters and they may well show a disdain for the candidate on election day.

So speculated Jim Miller of the Sacramento Bee yesterday, also noting that only those candidates who agree to abide by a voluntary spending limit of no more than $5.44 million in a statewide race are eligible for the statements. Interestingly Perez did not appear to come near that mark in his Primary race spending, but his $1.7 million spent through the last reporting period of May 17th was close to treble the amount spent by Yee to that date.

So, instead of laying out $6,250 for a ballot statement, Perez is spending hundreds of thousands on a recount to try to scare up 482 votes and beat Yee long after election Day. This is hubris at its most unattractive. This is not what we expect from our Democratic Party.

And apparently not what the  Democratic Party itself expects either, as they have accepted Yee as the winner and endorsed Democrat in the race, and put $50,000 into her bank account to help pay for her expenses associated with the recount.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stop the Recount!

From the Sac Bee, by two Democratic stalwarts. Thanks for letting me reprint:

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2014 - 12:00 am
Nearly all who followed the close race for second place in the state controller primary know that Democrat Betty Yee prevailed after the last ballots in Lake County were tallied in late June. But fellow Democrat John A. Pérez has now called for a time-consuming recount in hopes of overcoming his 481-vote deficit.

That’s a decision we hope he reconsiders.

First, the protracted recount process threatens to drag on for weeks. It covers hundreds of precincts in 15 counties and could take long enough to hamper preparations for the Nov. 4 general election.

Second, a recount threatens to undermine what most Democrats consider a core value of our party – putting the public interest ahead of self-interest. This is not the first time Pérez has put his own goals ahead of party unity. This spring he ignored advice from party elders not to demand a vote seeking endorsement over Yee at the party convention in Los Angeles. Pérez, from Los Angeles and then still the Assembly speaker, pressed ahead with the motion to endorse – and lost, capturing less than 50 percent of the ballots. Calling off the recount now would only work to his advantage. It’s not too late to show party unity and back Yee with all the resources he’s got.

Third, Yee, a state Board of Equalization member, should not be left stuck in proverbial limbo. The grace and restraint she has shown amid the questioning of her winning margin and the call for a recount are admirable. In the race for controller, Republican Ashley Swearengin, Fresno’s mayor, finished first and will be a formidable opponent. A complete Democratic slate with Yee getting full and undivided statewide support needs to proceed now, not whenever a prolonged recount wraps up.
We understand the desire by a candidate who comes up short by a very narrow margin to pursue a recount. But existing California law has no provisions for an automatic recount, and the process it does outline raises questions of fairness over who can foot the bill and how long it might last. One candidate can pay to pursue newly counted ballots in some areas and another candidate might then pay for and pursue newly counted ballots in others. The recount could stretch on for several weeks. Even then it could end in court.

Such is the Pandora’s box that Pérez has opened. The middle of a general election season, with county clerks facing a tight timeline to ready and release the fall ballot, is a particularly bad time for this to happen. The Legislature should not be called into special session to adopt new rules now, with the specific circumstances of this race weighing on their judgment.

Pérez can avoid this collateral damage by canceling the recount. The time for reviewing and reconsidering state policy for very close elections is in a future regular session of the Legislature.
Close elections can always inflame passions, especially when counting of ballots takes weeks. But that count happened. Yee finished as the top Democrat and is ready to make her case to win the general election. We strongly encourage Pérez to do the right thing and call off the recount. We would count this to his benefit if he ever seeks our vote again.