Ballots Arrive Before Candidate’s Statements and Voter Materials

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.


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Written by Anonymous

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    “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.”

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.)

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