Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

47 Comments
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By Monie de Wit, candidate for Santa Barbara Unified School Board

On Tuesday (9/29/20) many registered voters from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria received their official ballots to vote.

The problem is that according to the California Official Voter Information Guide, October 5th is the date that Counties will begin mailing vote-by-mail ballots.

Why is this a problem?

The issue is Joseph Holland had printed and released ballots that were mailed out on 9/28 to Santa Barbara County which includes Santa Maria and they  have received their official Ballot to vote a full week before the October 5th release date .

Registered voters however  have not received the voter information and candidates statements that Santa Barbara County Candidates have paid thousands of dollars to the Santa Barbara County Elections Office to print and send to voters before release of voting ballots. This leaves  Voters with ballots in their hands with no information about candidates or their positions. This clearly favors any incumbents as most people without information just vote the incumbent or leave it blank.

Challengers are at at disadvantage. For example  challengers including myself, Monie De Wit  have paid thousands of dollars to have Couty Elections Office to publish and deliver these have not sent them to voters in advance of the official ballots.

I am a  Candidate for Santa Barbara Unified School District Board who  paid 5,302.00 to file my information statement. The Santa Barbara Elections office has possibly broken election laws with their lack of following the required process.

Any candidate that has paid for their statements should demand a full refund at minimum.

In receiving the ballots a week early, voters are already voting without receiving any voter information or Candidate's statements in Santa Barbara County.

Candidates paid for statements published by the Santa Barbara County Elections office which did not arrive in advance of the ballots which is unprecedented and questionable.

This is a violation of the Ca Voter Bill of Rights and should be reported to the secretary of State Elections investigations office.

http://ca.gov/elections/publications-and-resources/voter-complaint


 

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47 Comments

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lovesbalot Oct 01, 2020 08:41 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

It's not a conspiracy. It is a breach of contract. And I think paying 5,302.00 that the incumbents decided to pass on to all candidates is not a reasonable amount of money. Do you only want to attract challengers who have means. Or would you like money not to play such a big roll. 5,302.00 is too high. And then not to get what I paid for is breaking a deal. I did file a complaint and I may get a refund . Think the planning on Holland's part was weak but hey it is covid. It is good for incumbents bad for challengers. It is not a conspiracy just an unfortunate outcome that I believe deserves a refund.

RHS Oct 02, 2020 10:03 AM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I am offended by this screw up. I do not claim it was directed at one party or anther. l want our elected officials to do their duty. This was not done here and it is wrong for the Elections person to try and explain around it by saying it is not important or he met a higher priority or whatever. And, btw, the ones hurt most by this are definitely the independents and small party candidates who do not have money from interest groups. So incidentally the act benefited both major party nominees though this was not the intention in my opinion.

sbmh2015 Oct 01, 2020 02:39 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

Lost my vote with this statement. Geez, I was so happy the ballots arrived. I will be voting after I receive information booklet and do my own research. This complaint on a public news website is ridiculous and makes me think less of this candidate.

Bird Oct 01, 2020 03:00 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I disagree, SBMH2015. EDHAT is the best public info site, the only local news site that does allow public comments and where the comments are sometimes as interesting if not more so than the story. I am shocked that the candidate paid $5,302.00 ! --- is that what all for the SBUSD paid? GUSD, also? I know that candidates for SBCC trustees paid less. Was there any promise made as to when the ballot info would be available? Mine came more or less contemporaneous with the ballot at my PO Box. Given all the ballot measures as well as the school board candidates it would have been helpful had it been earlier and I am glad that deWit stood up about this ---- too often SBUSD trustees roll over, which is why I am not voting for any of the incumbents.

lovesbalot Oct 01, 2020 08:35 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

2015 I think this points out barrier that are in the system which are not equitable. Why should SBUSD get to charge so much more than any other race. 5,302. for 200 words and 10000 for more. The decision was made by current incumbents who were never elected. It does not cost that much to print black in on new print. It is keeping latinx parents with low income from running yet we have the second highest poverty rate. It is about creating barriers and not getting what the contract said . Really sorry to loose your vote but it seems pricey and I did not get what they sold me.

a-1601610203 Oct 01, 2020 08:43 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I believe these rates are set by the district themselves - who also are interested in keeping a status quo and put up barriers to any possible renegades who would disrupt this status quo, let alone ask questions and ask for accountability. Rate setting might be function of the district's legal department, which is where the first questions from new voices should be asked.

a-1601613056 Oct 01, 2020 09:30 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I had the same reaction. Of course I support public discourse, Ms. De Wit's statement is not the issue. The content is. I don't think that receiving one or the other first is disqualifying. It sounds to me like continuing the anti-election arguments of our current president. It sounds to me like nit picking. This candidate's statement re: election materials does not better my view of her.

a-1601613570 Oct 01, 2020 09:39 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

"Really sorry to loose your vote but it seems pricey and I did not get what they sold me." Are you Ms. De Wit? (sorry if I misspelled or misprinted your name. You're a public office candidate! Why don't you use your name on a public site?!

a-1601617038 Oct 01, 2020 10:37 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

When you get appointed to fill a vacancy or when no one runs against you, then you come to office on a free pass and not an election. In the case of no filed opposition, a candidate's name or office does not even show up on the ballot, denying even any write-in opposition votes. That is how you can be "never elected", yet hold elected office.

a-1601618372 Oct 01, 2020 10:59 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

My apologies for criticizing your spelling, though I think it's valid, as proofreaders are almost a dime a dozen in these and all times and I think professionals and public figures should use them. I say so as an English major who moonlighted for a variety of publications and professionals. I am sorry I cast aspersions on your writing. .... Sheesh. I'm only gonna dig myself deeper in a hole here... There's no safe way these days.

Mr. Spleen Oct 02, 2020 08:03 AM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

In 2016, there were three open seats on the five-member board. When registration closed, only three candidates - Laura Capps, Jackie Reid and Wendy Sims-Moten - had signed up to run; they all "won" seats without appearing on the ballot. All three have served for the past four years and now are running for a second term, against five other contenders.

a-1601588997 Oct 01, 2020 02:49 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

Incumbents already have a degree of name recognition. Challengers need the voter pamphlets to create and equal playing field and they pay dearly to get this shot at equal recognition, not offered by expensive purchases of other media exposure. This delay was a major fail. Give the candidates thier money back that they paid for this printed handout. Incumbents of late are all establishment candidates; so yes this mailing delay and official dismissive attitude does have a certain stench about it.

a-1601614143 Oct 01, 2020 09:49 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

Oh, get real! I dont' mean to offend. Advertising has a LOT more to do with political success than a voter guide. I'd love some surveys on whether they're even read. Your statement that "Incumbents of late are all establishment candidates" is a tautology; a circular statement. All incumbents are always established.

a-1601616799 Oct 01, 2020 10:33 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

No, establishment candidates are the ones backed by the government employee unions, SEIU and the teachers unions typically. That has become the unfair playing field advantage any contender has to overcome. County Clerk was definitely not neutral on this issue and did favor the current establishment (union backed) incumbents. The employee union networking, partisan backing, power and money have kept local elections out of balance for several decades. Official mailed ballot statements are the best way to reach the most people for the least money. I see the Independent yet again endorsed the public sector union backed candidates, for more of the same. More dysfunction and more failure. Why are they doing this to our city and our schools? This city has become very unhealthy, having become a one-party town over these past few decades. Harriet Miller was the last mayor who presided over a politically diverse city council. It has been all down hill since that time forward You can measure the decline of this city from that time- extremely poor leadership and decision making after two decades of single party council members, for offices that are intended to be non-partisan and responsive to all community members, not just the city employees. Get woke, Independent editorial staff. You have been the handmaidens of this city's downfall. Never understood what was in it for them.

Ahchooo Oct 01, 2020 03:56 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I can see why she’d be upset. Some candidates choose not to pay to be in the Voter Guide. Having made the decision to fork out that money, she wants full benefit of it. But I wonder, how many people marked their ballots immediately, and of those, how many usually look at the voter guides?

a-1601613959 Oct 01, 2020 09:45 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I study my guide and many other sources and often have discussions with other thoughtful people. Always have. Can't imagine dealing with local boards and propositions before doing due diligence. But yeah-- lots of people don't bother to study the issues. Seems to me to go along with the denigration of education and study. Of course I have my biases and generally vote Dem, but I work at my ballot. It takes some effort to be an informed citizen. But I can and must vote against my personal interests. When I first heard of Prop 15, many months ago, I decided I had to vote for it based on my beliefs and values. That was before I knew it did not apply to homes. One's values should be expressed in one's vote.

a-1601651981 Oct 02, 2020 08:19 AM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I rarely now agree with the Independent (they urged a vote for Das in the last election and for Cathy Murillo as mayor) --- as for the LWV, where does it say their recommendation for 15? I would like to see what they say on other ballot measures. (15 is predictable for the SB LWV.) Having just picked up my ballot info I'll read the official statements on it. (And I agree, candidates who paid for their statements should get a refund just as they would if they paid for an ad in a newspaper and it ran late.)

PitMix Oct 02, 2020 09:21 AM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I bet there is nothing in the election material contract with the candidates that promises a publish by date or anything. Just that it is published in the materials that are sent to the voters. We can huff and puff all we want, but I haven't see anyone refer to a rule that would mandate reimbursement.

a-1601602135 Oct 01, 2020 06:28 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

Holland has a lot of explaining to do. This is simple stuff. People running for office on limited budgets have so few opportunities to tell the voters what they are about. Depriving them of this opportunity is a disgrace. For Holland to say that people were happy to receive their ballots first is nonsense. We got our ballots and wondered where the statements were, they are important to us in the second tier races. Minimally a full refund, maybe more damages to follow.

a-1601606992 Oct 01, 2020 07:49 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

Question for Ms De Wit: do the candidates submit their statements electronically, or did someone at the elections office input the text? I’m wondering who to blame for the typos, missing commas, etc. that appear in some of the statements (not yours, particularly).

SBZZ Oct 01, 2020 09:08 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

https://www.noozhawk.com/article/candidates_upset_that_sample_ballots_have_yet_to_be_sent

"County Clerk-Recorder Joe Holland said the delay in mailing voter information guides and sample ballots was simply because of the heavy demand on ballot printers during the printing process. Hopefully, he said, they will be sent to local post offices on Wednesday and voters can expect them in the mail shortly after."

a-1601614953 Oct 01, 2020 10:02 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I fail every time I use this site's search function! It's very frustrating. Anyway, here is Ms. De Wit's previous editorial. I'd like to know what she found out after her previous experience with the local election office. (I wish this editorial would've been cited at the end of the current editorial, for information and continuity.) https://www.edhat.com/news/sbusd-board-candidate-pay-to-play-is-not-ok

lovesbalot Oct 02, 2020 08:12 PM
Ballots Arrive Before Candidate's Statements and Voter Materials

I appreciate a difference of opinion but the high fee was only for SBUSD and was decided upon by the incumbents. Do you want money to play a big role in who runs? Do you think it would be nice to have someone of low income get on seeing that we are in a county with the second highest poverty rate. Or do you prefer a board make-up backed by one party or another or special interests. Also the fee makes no sense because the cost to print type on newsprint is cheaper than 5,302. As a photographer who used to do press checks for source books a beautiful spread would run around 2500. Pay walls this size leads to barriers... I will redirect my attention to education but I think this is relevant because money should reflect cost and this does not.

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