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Ballot Harvesting

Posted by Brenda Higgins on December 3, 2018

Since the blue wave that swept Orange County in November 2018, there has been much discussion and outrage at the multiple victories of the Democrats.  I have looked in vain for a thoughtful analysis of the relatively new law known as “Ballot Harvesting”.  The reactions of conservatives and Republicans to the election results have been shock and outrage.   Those sentiments are fueled by party leadership’s failure to provide meaningful explanation of the law, and the lack of party strategy in addressing it during the 2018 cycle.  A productive discussion is needed, with truth about what the statute says and doesn’t say, and what party leadership did and did not do.  There may very well have been fraudulent activity, but it is impossible to discern that, unless and until we appreciate what was permissible under the law, and the utter lack of response to the possibilities.

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed AB-1921 , it was codified as Elections Code Section 3017.  In past elections, (i.e. prior to 2016) a “Vote by mail” voter, which most Republicans are, could mail their ballot, drop it off at the polling place, or have a relative or member of their household drop it off at the polling place.  It had to be received at the polling place before the polls closed, or received by the Registrar of Voters (if by mail) prior to the closing of the polls on election day.

It is easy to see that even with the Vote by Mail ballots, there are impediments for some people.  If you live alone, if you have no relatives, if you are unable to get to the polling place and can’t or just forgot to mail it on time, maybe you don’t have the $1.00 in postage (It does require two stamps that are $.050 now), or you can’t get to the post office to get stamps.  For elderly or disabled persons in particular, it is easy to see how these things could prevent a person from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

The new law provides that you can turn your ballot over to anyone you want to, and have them drop it off at the polling place.  The law provides that the person transporting the ballot can not be paid for doing so, not by a campaign or party or political action committee.  The Ballot “Harvester”, if you will, just has to be a well intentioned person who wants to help a voter out.  On its face, seems like a great idea, ask your neighbor or the nice lady you know from church to take your ballot to the polls for you.  The opportunity arises though, for a grassroots army, of well organized volunteers, who could be working the Get Out the Vote process in a way that visits voters at their home to make sure they get registered, offer some helpful advice and information on what the issues are and about the candidates, offer to pick up the ballot on election day and take it to the polls for you.  It all sounds like a wonderful program, a win-win situation.

There is a window of opportunity created by this new law.  The law itself is impartial, and not a terrible idea in that it increases the ability and likelihood that someone can exercise their constitutional right to vote.  The problem with any window of opportunity, is that if you don’t move to make it work for you, it becomes a liability.  That seems to be what happened to Orange County Republicans in the 2018 election.

Before the primary in June, the California Republican Party engaged in a pilot program to call on consistent Republican voters and volunteers would offer to pick up their ballot and take it to the polling place.  The problem was, many Republican voters who were contacted refused.   This is the same thing we have seen in recent past elections with polling.  The polls have tended to favor Democrats, never forget the “sure thing” of a Hillary presidency, because Republican voters are disinclined to share their opinions or information with strangers.  They were similarly disinclined to turn over their ballots.  The OCGOP therefore abandoned any effort to organize and/or leverage the new law in their favor in the November election. They stuck to the old tried and true phone banking and canvassing calling on the RWF to round up the woman power to Get Out The Vote.

Democrats maximized their leverage of the new law  by registering new Democrat voters, getting out the vote from low propensity voters (who haven’t often voted), increasing the voter contact and then, ‘harvesting’, offering for volunteers to pick up and deliver voters ballots to the polls.

The Registrar in Orange County has been quoted as saying that the numbers of ballots dropped off on election day in the November 2018 election was unprecedented.

On November 19, at the OCGOP monthly meeting, a very contrite Chairman Fred Whitaker, discussed Ballot Harvesting and indicated that he had significantly underestimated the impact it would have in the 2018 races.  By that date, it had become clear that the county had lost every congressional seat, as well as State Assembly and State Senate seats.   On election night, the early returns had Republicans in slim leads in the congressional and state legislature seats.  As the hundreds of thousands of “Harvested” ballots were tallied, those leads disappeared.  On that evening of November 19, it was clear that no congressional seats were saved and the words of Chairman Whitaker dismissing Democrat challengers earlier in the year “Let them die on the hill in Orange County”, had come back to haunt him in the worst way.  Similarly, Mimi Walters, when asked in March if she had any concerns about being re-elected, she exerted a confident “No”.   This arrogance did not serve the party well, and translated to losses even for those who took the threat of harvested ballots seriously.

Young Kim was talking about harvested ballots. Travis Allen was talking about the threat of harvested ballots.  It is of little benefit for single candidates to recognize an existential threat to their candidacy when the party has affirmatively decided to ignore it.

The ballots turned in through the harvesting of volunteers, are not per se, ‘fraudulent’ votes.  That is the distinction that so many who are outraged over this result are missing. The elucidation of the new law herein, is not to say there was no election fraud, but to point out, it is a different issue.  In the November 19 meeting, Chairman Whitaker and others told stories of many long hours spent at the County office of the Registrar, observing the ballots being counted to look for any anomalies.  Mark Meuser and others did the same in many other counties.  Fraud may very well have been at work in this election and affected the result.  Deborah Pauly, OCGOP Central Committee representative noted that this new procedure  “May further have denigrated election integrity”, as there have been myriad other concerns  raised about election integrity in this election where not just Ballot Harvesting, but Motor Voter law, and an incompetent and recalcitrant DMV, have created a brave new world of election fraud possibilities.

The new law permitting Ballot Harvesting in California, should also not be confused with the ban on such harvesting in Arizona.  The Arizona law prohibiting ballot harvesting was challenged in the 9th Circuit.  On an emergency basis, in a remarkably brief, two line ruling,  the court refused to stay the Arizona law.  So, as of the 2018 election, ballot harvesting was banned, by law in Arizona.  That legal matter is still pending with the 9th Circuit and scheduled for a full  hearing  in January.  That case may shed some light on the California law, but it is important to know that the law is opposite in the two states.

Many factors likely contributed to the blue sweep of this famously red county.   It is disappointing and the sheer magnitude of the defeat is breathtaking.  The party has emphasized this ballot harvesting as being the problem.  It is onerous sounding, “Ballot Harvesting” without an understanding of the law.  This fueling of outrage though, does work in keeping constituents upset, and in their outrage, they fail to analyze and appreciate all of the other malfeasance by party leadership.  Given the classic behavior of liberals and conservatives, everyone should have known that the harvesting would dramatically favor democrats.  Given the make up and rhetoric surrounding the House of Representatives on a national level, they knew the efforts of the Democratic National Convention would be focused, aggressively  here.  In the constant refrain of polling and strategy, party leaders knew that demographics were changing and the market share of the Grand Old Party was shrinking in this region.

What the party missed was a set of cohesive messaging and ideas, conservative philosophy, simply communicated to voters.  Conservative ideals, of smaller government and greater civil liberties, law and order and government that stays out of your way…this is the ideal that sells that has always been the heart of the Republican party.  But, in their effort to distance themselves from Trump, because a pollster told them to, they forget what they were about.   The party, again in this election, let the liberals set the tone and the agenda and stuck to statistical models and polls, instead of revisiting our foundation, of greater freedom through smaller government.

In the current environment, if a candidate can not make the case for conservatism, then that candidate is finished. That is the battle field.  It will no longer work to just make voting easier and pander to a demographic, with slick mailers and repetitive phone calls. Voters are more sophisticated than that and they want to have a sense of the party’s core beliefs and the candidate’s willingness to adhere to that.  The party also put up “recognizable” names, without any appreciation for the baggage and displeasure that may be associated with the names.  Polls can’t tell you that.  Only involvement with the non-political constituents can give a reading on that.

Ranting about fraud or ballot harvesting, and encouraging others to rant about it,  is just a failure to accept full responsibility for an abject failure to see and plan for what was to come.  There is so much more the party needs to be doing to come into being a force to be reckoned with in the new political environment.  One thing is for sure, what we have always done, and ignoring and discounting what has occurred nationally, is not the right plan forward.  Other than attempting to gloss over the massacre of 2018, by congratulating the local officials who were endorsed and won races, the party has not communicated what the plan forward is.  There’s been no indication of leadership change, little acknowledgment of fault or malfeasance, no indication of what if anything will be done to address real irregularities that came up and were reported during the election season.  It will behoove and be incumbent upon leadership to forge and communicate a new path forward, and it would seem to be prudent to do that sooner rather than later.

There is an election in 23 months. Orange County, has no Republican incumbents in Congress.  Rebuilding, if it is going to be attempted, needs to be happening now.

 

Posted in 34th Senate District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 74th Assembly District, California, Orange County, Republican Central Committee, U.S. Politics | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

I’m a Pro Life Activist and I’m voting for Travis Allen

Posted by Brenda Higgins on May 22, 2018

 As I have researched the alleged issues, I realize that there has been not only disinformation, but combined with short sightedness and lack of thorough analysis, the reactionary ‘endorsements’ of Cox have been sorely misplaced.  John Cox has simply stated that he is Pro-Life, which is inconsistent with his vote for Pro-choice Libertarian  Gary Johnson for president.  Yet, the ‘movement’ seems disinclined to exact any consequences upon him for that.  The primarily cited reason for rejection Travis Allen’s representation that he is Pro-Life is the number of time he abstained on legislation that was of interest to the Pro-Life lobby.  The most oft cited of those is dealt with here, but the analysis of the other pieces of legislation that Travis Allen is faulted for, are similarly innocuous when looked at in the detail of impact his vote may have had.

Labels are funny things.  They have become a knee jerk reactive prompt, that we respond to like Pavlov’s dog.  We have to, above all, bring humanity back into policy and politics, or we truly have accomplished nothing, in particular, when we call ourselves advocates for “life”.  We should be more careful with words like “choice” and “family planning” and realize that they are just words.  We should also be up to speed on what is happening in Pro-Life non-profits, charities and life affirming medical clinics.  Organizations that not only affirm life, but provide….choices, AND, Family Planning.  Just because we use words that are used by bad guys, does not mean, we are bad guys.

 SB 743, was entitled, The Protection of Choice for Family Planning Providers. It was presented to the Assembly on 9/13/17.  The problem that many “Pro Life” leaders are having on this particular bill is that Travis Allen did NOT vote on it, he abstained.  In discussion this with those conservatives who oppose Travis Allen as a governor candidate, no one could tell me exactly what difference his vote would have made.  The answer lies in the 55-21 split, in favor of passage.  Travis Allen’s vote, yes, no, or abstain, was in fact, irrelevant.  It would have passed no matter what Travis Allen did.  

Travis Allen is further faulted by these “Pro Life” advocates, for abstaining on other “Pro Life” bills.  Anyone who has ever been in Sacramento and conversed with conservative legislators there in the past three decades, knows, that you must pick your battles.  In the interests of what you can get done, you might have to ignore and let go of what you can not get done.  A few years ago, a California Senator told me that Jerry Brown was the best ally we conservatives had in Sacramento. It puzzled me at first, but I realized it was because the Governor, with his veto power, was holding a fiscally conservative line periodically, which provided the conservatives some maneuvering ability, not much, but some.  During the 6 years that Travis Allen has been in the State Assembly in Sacramento, the Democrats have had a majority, (more than half) and for all but two years it was a Super-majority (More than two thirds).  The minority in such a hostile environment, must have some shrewd strategy and survival skills. 

The passage of SB 743, is not in any way the apolcalyptic defeat of the Pro Life Movement that they are making it out to be.  In reviewing the listed advocates and opponents of this legislation, I am (again) puzzled as to whether anyone taking a side,  actually read it.  Of course, a variety of Planned Parenthood organizations supported it.  Particularly puzzling though, is the Catholic opposition to it.   Catholic charities strongly support many pro-life pregnancy centers that will benefit greatly from this legislation.
The legislation, SB 743, does not specifically, or exclusively, fund abortion.

It provides that if a woman is receiving funding for her medical care through a government subsidized health plan, she should be able to CHOOSE her provider.  What is unreasonable about that?  She may choose abortion with that blank check of benefits given her, but she can ALSO choose life affirming medical care for herself and her unborn child.  These medi-cal and medicaid benefits are a tremendous help to those life affirming medical centers, and those centers offer so much more to mothers than Planned Parenthood does. 

“Medi-Cal managed care plan shall not restrict the choice of the qualified provider from whom a beneficiary enrolled in the managed care plan may receive family planning services covered by the Medi-Cal program”  SB743 (

Maybe their issue is that women might choose Planned Parenthood.  She may, however, choose a life affirming medical clinic for her ‘family planning services’.   Choice, it is not a bad thing, and it is not a bad word. The question the Pro Life Lobby should be asking itself, is are WE doing ENOUGH to support these kinds of centers and divert these women to them?  Are we making these known?  Are they as easily recognized, branded and exposed and familiar to the public as Planned Parenthood.  Women, and men, go to Planned Parenthood because they are shocked, surprised, overwhelmed, unsure and immensely afraid.  They go to what they know.  Why cant we change what they know?  There are other OPTIONS.  They have real CHOICES.

With the woman having a real choice, she can choose a life affirming center.  It is up to the Pro Life movement to step up the game to reach these women.  With President Trump signaling that he will be enforcing Title X limitations on funding to abortion providers, this opportunity is truly wide open for life affirming medical centers to expand their reach and their market share.  While we myopically focus on old battle fields, opposing anything and everything that might benefit Planned Parenthood, an entirely new opportunity is springing up to simply put them out of business.  We will miss it if we keep splitting hairs over whom is Pro-Life enough for us.

Planned Parenthood performs over 300,000 abortions each year. They offer no prenatal care, no parenting support and refer only 2,500 adoptions.  That is not any range of CHOICE.  Pro Life Pregnancy clinics offer real support, and, real choice.  Choice is not a bad word, we just surrendered it and let them have it.  We should take it back.  Choices, when they are real and meaningful, are good things.  

It does not seem that any of Travis Allen’s opponents thought of this.  Again, though, Travis Allen did not vote on this, did not sponsor this, and was not a deciding factor in its passage.  It remains however a deciding factor in Pro Life organizations and activists rejecting him as a candidate.

The failure to fully consider the scope of this and other legislation, the full impact of life affirming ministries and organizations is incredibly short sighted of “Pro-Life” activists, but to compound their error of improperly analyzing the impact of this law, by saddling an illusive negative impact, upon a legislator and now governor candidate who had NOTHING to do with its passage, is just simple incompetence, and utter unfairness.

Travis Allen, is by far the best candidate we have seen for Governor of California in many years.  I just hope it is not too late to undo the misinformation damage that has occurred from these improper analyses.

I am a Pro Life Activist, I work in Life Affirming ministry, and I will be voting for Travis Allen.  

Posted in California, Orange County, U.S. Politics | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

U.S. Senate Democrat Hypocrisy In Full Display Joined by Two Republicans!

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 30, 2018

Sometimes satire is very very funny. The Babylon Bee (http://babylonbee.com/) is a Christian satire site similar to the Onion but with a religious theme to it.  It’s “articles” are usually funny with lots of humor often poking fun at popular culture and at the Church itself.

But sometimes its satire is bitingly and strikingly to the point.  The vote by most of the U.S. Senate Democrats and two Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a case in point – actually two cases on point.  First is the Bee’s article entitled:

Senate Democrats Refuse To Grant Legal Status To Children Dreaming Of Being Born (Link)

The article begins: “WASHINGTON, DC—Voting down a measure that would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks gestation, Senate Democrats on Monday refused to grant legal status to millions of unborn children dreaming of one day being born.”

Later in the article it states: “Frankly, I’m tired of the Republicans’ sob stories about these so-called ‘dreamers’ who are deliberately hiding inside a womb, hoping for government protection without going through the proper channels,” a DNC spokesperson told reporters. “Maybe it’s not their fault their parents brought them into this world, but that does not give them the same Constitutional right to life that hardworking, natural-born Americans have earned.”

For the rest of this bitingly true article go to the link above – its satire but it is strikingly on point.

The the Babylon Bee followed up with this excellent piece:

After Killing 20-Week Abortion Ban, Democrats Resume Lecturing People About Compassion (Link)

This one begins: “WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to sources within the Senate, Democratic legislators took a short break from their tireless schedule of lecturing the nation about compassion Monday in order to vote against a ban on the barbaric practice of ripping helpless 20-week-old babies limb from limb and pulling them from the wombs of their mothers.”

Later the article “reported”: “We had to hit pause on our monologues about immigrant children for a quick minute so we could ensure that women’s rights to kill their babies at any time, for any reason are preserved,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “But rest assured, we are back on our moral high horse and will proceed to posture as champions of the oppressed and the only virtuous human beings on earth, now that that task is complete.”

Finally this satire piece noted that “At publishing time, sources confirmed that the two Republicans who sided with the Democrats to shoot down the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine—had resumed acting as though they represented the values of their constituents.”

I highly recommend you go to the link above for this full article too.

While these two reports are truly “satire,” they are based on true events that occurred this week (the week of January 29th).  And both point to the absolute hypocrisy of most U.S. Senate Democrats (including our own Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein).

Both articles are very short and worth your time.

Posted in U.S. Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Taxes Due Today, But California’s Tax Freedom Day Isn’t Until May 3

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 15, 2015

Tax Freedom Day in Each State – California is 47th Latest on May 3 (Graphic Courtesy of the Tax Foundation)

So if you’re like me, you’ll be finishing filing your income taxes sometime tonight.  I’m glad e-file has existed since I started filing income taxes.  It’d probably be a disaster driving to one of those postmarking-until-midnight Post Offices if I had to mail in my income taxes.

In fact, there’s only one Post Office in all of Orange County that will still be postmarking mail until midnight tonight: 3101 Sunflower Ave. in Santa Ana (the retail portion closes at 7:00 PM, but they’re still postmarking mail received by midnight). For those in northwestern Orange County, you can drive into LA County before 10:00 PM because the Post Office at 2300 Redondo Blvd. in Long Beach will be postmarking mail until then.

While today is the day we literally pay our income taxes, the figurative day in which we finish paying our taxes is still nine days away nationally and eighteen days away for California.

The Tax Foundation annually calculates Tax Freedom Day, which is the day in which people have earned enough money to pay all their taxes (income, payroll, sales, property, etc.) for the year, assuming no change in income level during the course of the year.  Any income earned after Tax Freedom Day will belong to the taxpayer (again assuming no change in income level during the course of the year).

National Tax Freedom Day for 2015 is April 24, though Tax Freedom Day varies by state.

The earliest Tax Freedom Day is in Louisiana on April 2, followed by Mississippi (April 4), South Dakota (April 8), and Tennessee and Alabama (both April 9).

The latest Tax Freedom Day is in Connecticut and New Jersey (both on May 13), New York (May 8), California (May 3), and Massachusetts (May 2).

That’s right: not only is California 47th in the nation, we’re also worse than Taxachusetts.

To look at this another way, the average Louisianan celebrates Tax Freedom Day on April 2, which is 92 days into the year, or 25.2% of the way into the year.  In other words, the average Louisianan pays 25.2% of their annual income in taxes.

The average Californian celebrates Tax Freedom Day on May 3, which is 123 days into the year, or 33.7% of the way into the year.  In other words, the average Californian pays 33.7% of their annual income in taxes, 8.5% more than the average Louisianan.

All of California’s neighbors celebrate Tax Freedom Day before California does: Arizona celebrates it today (17th in the country), Nevada on April 20 (26th in the country), and Oregon on April 22 (33rd in the country).

Posted in California, U.S. Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »