California 2020 Primary

I did my civic duty this weekend and voted in the California primary. Polling places opened on Saturday Feb 22 and will remain open until Tuesday Mar 3. (Find a nearby polling place.) Note that you can vote in any polling place in your county of residence. If you haven’t registered, it’s not too late–many polling places allow same day registration.

The voting system is a new electronic printing system (at least in LA County). When you check in (bring your sample ballot; they scan the barcode and find your registration instantly) they take a blank ballot and print a code on the top. You then find a booth and feed your ballot into the machine. The code tells it which races you can vote in. There’s a large touch screen where you make your selections. You can go forward and back, changing your selections at will. There’s a final review screen, which lists all your selections with options to change any of them. Then you click print. You get a printed copy of your ballot, which has human readable and computer encoding. One last review of the printed ballot, and then you feed it into the machine. The paper ballot is the official ballot, the machines simply do the counting, as before.

As always, I took my kids with me into the booth so they could see it how it works and they got the “I Voted” stickers too. After voting we stopped by a city campaign office and they got chocolate bars for “voting”. Not sure that sets a good precedent. :stuck_out_tongue:

There is only one state-wide proposition this election, Prop 13, a bond measure for capital improvements of public education at all levels. I voted yes, because I’m in favor of more long-term investment in the residents of my state.

All of the primary races are open to all candidates. The top two of each race will face each other again in the general election this fall. My local Congressman, Adam Schiff, surely doesn’t need my vote, but he got it anyway.

The presidential primaries still have restrictions based on each party’s rules. I’m still registered as Republican (because I’ve always been Republican and hold to the principle of “screw you too”) and patriotically voted for Bill Weld as seemingly the closest contender to unindicted co-conspirator Donald John Trump. My spouse voted for Bernie Sanders, because [mortal kombat]Finish Him![/mortal kombat] (that is, get the primary over as fast as possible). While I don’t want another angry old white man as president, he at least has moral character and I will eagerly vote for whoever the Democrats nominate.

Any other Californians vote yet? Did your county get new voting equipment? How did it go?

I voted by mail.

Note that, except for President, California uses an open primary system where everybody appears on the ballot for every office, and, in most cases, the top two advance to the November general election, even if (a) they are both from the same party and/or (b) one got a majority of the vote at the primary.

As for the Democratic Presidential Primary, note that not every district gets the same number of delegates; they range from 4 to 7, based 25% on the number of votes Obama got from that district in 2012, 25% based on how many Clinton got in 2016, and 50% based on the district’s population. Only two districts get 7 delegates - Nancy Peolsi’s (most of San Francisco) and Barbara Lee’s (Oakland, Berkeley, and most of the surrounding cities). There are 144 statewide pledged delegates, and 271 district-based delegates.

I will be voting by mail. I had to switch my “party” from Independent to Democrat in order to vote for the presidential primary. My county sent me a new ballot promptly. Within a day or so I started getting Bloomberg mail. No other presidential candidates have sent me anything. I will vote Democratic in all races.

I vote against every bond measure, always.
Bonds are just expensive ways to pay for what the Legislature is paid to do.

I have a mail-in ballot, but haven’t sent it in yet. I usually drop it off at the polling place, because it’s the only chance I get to go into the neighborhood Masonic Lodge, and it’s just as fast as taking it to the post office across the street.

Now that they’ve moved the primary up it will be somewhat more interesting than usual with regard to the presidential race. Also, I’ve gotten about three months of fire-place fuel in the form of campaign mailers.

(I’ve always voted for Schiff, too, but this time I think he’s really earned his keep.)

Mailed my ballot last week. I haven’t lived in California for 10 years, so most of the issues are very abstract, and of course the media here doesn’t cover them. But thankfully I also don’t have to see political ads—I have yet to see one, since even Google and Facebook know I’m physically outside of the US and therefore couldn’t possibly be worth targeting with American political ads.

Voted Warren, even though I know perfectly well she’s not going to make it to the finals… I mean, be nominated.

My spouse got three pieces of mail from Bloomberg yesterday. He’s a day late and a couple dollars shorter. :wink: The interesting thing is one was in Korean. Someone in his campaign is paying attention to who they’re mailing to. Some goodwill for that, and I hope the other candidates are reaching out to communities of color as well. But no mailings to us from any other presidential candidate.

You make it sound so personable, almost as though they just happened to notice. I’m sure you know that campaigns are able to buy hundreds (if not thousands) of data points about individuals. Mostly those are exploited through digital contact (FB, etc.), and these mailers are going to be able to reflect that only in crude ways, like having translations for different households. But if you ever left the slightest indication somewhere online that you might be a swing voter in the general, don’t be surprised if, in your social media, you come across conspiracy theories from the Trump campaign about Sanders in Korean --though it’s not very likely just because you’re in California. If you moved to Wisconsin I’m sure they’d make the connections and it it would happen.

So I just filled out an Open California / Capitol survey, which claims nearly 10,000 responses from early voters. So far, they have:

Bernie Sanders 27.51%
Michael Bloomberg 19.91%
Pete Buttigieg 15.34%
Elizabeth Warren 13.28%
Joe Biden 10.79%
Amy Klobuchar 7.28%
Tom Steyer 2.97%
Andrew Yang 1.44%
Tulsi Gabbard 1.12%

For what it’s worth… decent sample size, less-than-decent methodology.

I’m a Non-Partisan and requested a Democratic ballot which I have and will mail in this weekend. I am getting shit loads of Bloomberg mail and Bloomberg ads on Facebook. Not voting for Bloomberg.

I heard a Steyer ad on the radio this morning. Suprised the heck out of me, since mentally I’ve already put him and Gabbard in the “oh I thought they already dropped out” bin.
Especially surprising as I was guessing it was going to be a Bloomberg commercial.

I’m No Party Preference and will be hitting the early voting station in the community center in the park next to my work next week. Some stations opened last Saturday, some that are in places less compatible with extended disruption like schools and churches don’t open until this Saturday. The one by my work is the most convienient for me, but it doesn’t open until 2/29. I’ll be requesting the Democratic ballot. Only 1 proposition this time and no statewide bond issues.
Locally there are 3 city council slots and a city sales tax proposition.

Er, the one proposition is a bond issue - $9 billion for preschool and K-12 school buildings, and $6 billion for college buildings.

Right now, the only proposition on the November ballot is one to repeal the “no-cash bail” system about to be implemented in California, but there are currently three others that are having their signatures verified; one deals with parole, one with applying Proposition 13 to commercial property, and one with rent control.

I just signed a bunch of petitions, including one that would allow tribal casinos to offer “real” (rather than “card-based”) roulette and craps, as well as take bets on sporting events (except for any game involving a California college/university, or any high school sporting event), and would also allow sports betting at the state’s major horse racing tracks; there’s a chance this can get on the November ballot, but I think 2022 is more likely.

I’m in Sacramento County, which is all mail-in balloting, unless you specifically go to an early voting location. So I went down to the Citrus Heights city hall and voted by machine there. When your vote is done, it prints out a copy of your vote, which you can scan before putting it into the ballot box.

We’re in Amateur County, right next to Sacratomato County but quite GOP-red. Mail-in ballots here but we’ll carry ours to the county clerk’s office on Tuesday and pick up our I VOTED stickers. But first we must decide how to vote. We’re split on the school bond measure and undecided on candidates. Who will kick the orange terror out of DC? Is a puzzlement.

I have till tomorrow to decide so I’m still a swing voter. 538 says Sanders* will probably take the most delegates with Biden second. Who is more likely to beat Tramp? This POTUS expended vast political capital and resources, unto impeachment, to destroy Biden, whom he obviously REALLY fears. Could a Sanders-Warren ticket, with Liz likely to succeed to the Oval Office when Bernie’s heart blows out, beat Tramp-Pen$e in the rigged** electoral process? I dunno, and the primary ballot lacks a choice for Veep. I needn’t hold my nose to vote Biden, just shrug in resignation and do what’s prudent. Go Joe, hooray. [sigh…]

  • My ex left me for a Sanders (then my best friend) but I won’t hold that against Bernie.
    ** A popular supermajority will likely again be overridden by an electoral minority. Reality sucks.

Here is my somewhat-stream-of-consciousness analysis of who I will be voting for:

So, first of all, the #1 priority in my mind is to beat Trump. That is FAR more important than any of the differences between the candidates. If could look in a magic 8 ball and be told which way to cast my vote to maximize the chance of Trump being defeated, I would do that without hesitation (although I would feel guilty if that meant voting for Bloomberg).

(Side note: it’s a measure of how ridiculously awful Trump is that people can say “Bloomberg is just as bad as Trump, here are 4 or 5 ways they are very comparable, any one of which ought to by itself disqualify anyone from the presidency”, and they’re right about those 4 or 5 things… and yet there are another 10 ways that Trump is awful that Bloomberg isn’t, meaning Bloomberg is still immeasurably better.)

However, there is no such magic 8 ball, so all I can do is my best. Also, I want my vote to count, meaning (given the 15% cutoff for viability), I will probably not vote for a candidate who is polling far below 15%. 538 currently has Sanders at 33% in CA, Biden at 15.1, Warren at 14.0 and Bloomberg at 13.1. But given that Mayor Pete just dropped out, that presumably bumps those all up a bit. But that eliminates Klobuchar, although I like her a fair bit.

One other preliminary note: I think charisma and intangible “it factor” are far more important vs Trump than they would be in a more normal election. Trump didn’t win due to staking out thoughtful positions on important topics. He won due to visceral appeal. Which (I suspect) needs to be fought by visceral appeal. I would absolutely have loved to see Mayor Pete standing across the stage from him in a debate, young and energetic and calm and articulate. C’est la vie.

So let’s quickly discuss all four of those choices.

Bloomberg: I think he might actually be a decent president, but I think it would do terrible harm to the democratic party to nominate him, both because of his sexist/racist scandals, and because of the extent to which he would be viewed as buying the nomination. He is also incredibly uncharismatic. So he’s a distant 4th choice.

Bernie is (of course) the current front runner, and clearly the figure about whom this decision really revolves. And I love a LOT of things about him. He has done more than anyone to bring up the issue of the influence of money on politics (and on society in general). He has had a ton of personal integrity. He holds a lot of progressive opinions that I agree with, at least in broad strokes (universal health care, better access to education, get money out of politics). And he obviously has an incredibly devoted group of young followers. But I have two main problems with him: (1) I think a lot of his positions are staked out with good intent, but not actually very well thought out. For instance, free college for everyone. People who are more knowledgeable about the topic than I am have argued convincingly that while that sounds nice, it really amounts to a massive wealth transfer not to the poor, but to the middle- and upper-middle classes. What’s keeping poor ghetto kids from getting a good college education isn’t inability to pay the tuition, it’s lack of good public schools preparing them to succeed in college. If you really want to spend a lot of government money to improve educational opportunities for those who need it most (as Bernie does, and as I also do), his proposal sounds good but it doesn’t really hit where it’s needed. And I find similar issues with various of his stated proposals. (Also, side note, he has at least in the past been really into alternative medicine, and things like that, which I abhor). (2) I just don’t think he will beat Trump. I am more convinced than ever, given how easy the Fox-News-etc people go on him, and how Trump is constantly tweeting in ways to encourage Bernie fans that he’s being robbed, that they are just rubbing their hands in anticipation of Bernie becoming the nominee, so they can just unload an infinite amount of opposition research on him. Sure, they will try to do that to anyone, but it’s very telling how much effort they’ve already put in into publicly smearing Biden (to the extent that Trump got impeached), while leaving Bernie basically untouched. Now, given that Bernie seems pretty likely to end up as the nominee, I desperately hope that they are miscalculating, and that he’ll be able to shrug off the attacks, and people won’t be interested in rehashing what he said in 1985 about people that no one really remembers. But “they” wouldn’t be holding back so eagerly if they didn’t think it would be effective. Add that to the more general “people in the middle and who are afraid of a progressive” bloc, and I just think Trump will beat him handily.

Biden is, in many people’s minds, the alternative to Bernie. But unless he de-ages 10 years in the next month, I just don’t have any confidence in his ability to inspire anyone. He’s never been charismatic, and now he just spends a lot of time seeming old and creepy and out of touch. He might well be able to beat Trump… but I’m not confident of it. (The difference between Biden and Bernie, when it comes to polling predictions of hypothetical matchups vs Trump, in which Bernie frequently does better, is that it’s incredibly unlikely that there are massive new skeletons in Biden’s closet that are suddenly going to turn a lot of people away.) But, again, I just don’t see him inspiring anyone. He might well limp across the finish line. But I’m not confident of it

And that leaves Warren, who has had a terrible first few primaries, but may be experiencing a bit of a surge now. And while she isn’t as charismatic as Pete or (in his own way) Bernie, she’s vastly sharper and more appealing than Biden. And I think she has enough progressive cred to appeal to Bernie fans, but is also pragmatic enough to both pivot somewhat to the center in a general election, and also, if elected president, be willing and able to strike practical compromises to get things done. I am far more confident in her ability to look good compared to Trump than Biden’s, and I don’t think she has the massive weight of fodder for attack ads that Bernie does. Of the four remaining leading candidates, if I could wave a magic wand and pick which one became the nominee, it would be her. (Also worth pointing out that several of my friends and relatives whose opinions I really respect, who are far more knowledgeable about politics than I am, are big fans of hers).

Does that mean I should vote for her? Or if I think Bernie is very likely to lose and Biden is only somewhat likely to lose, should I vote for Biden?

It’s tough. It depends what path I can see to actually ending up with her as the nominee. The ideal path, morbidly, would be for Bernie to have another heart attack, have to withdraw from the race to convalesce, and endorse Warren. Then he could be the martyr, figurehead and leader; and she could be the candidate. Leaving that aside, it seems incredibly unlikely that she will end up with the plurality of votes. But in a situation with a contested convention where Bernie and Warren together having about as many delegates as Biden and Bloomberg, with the superdelegates being the deciding factor, she might well end up being the most unifying nominee, acceptable to both the Bernie fans and the anti-Bernie crowd. But that only happens if she has enough of her own delegates to be in the conversation.
So… (unless I change my mind in the next two days) I will be voting for Elizabeth Warren to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. And may god have mercy on our souls.

Biden is now the youngest man still running in the Democratic primary.

MaxTheVool, it was incredibly creepy to read my own thoughts written out in such detail. I feel violated but also somehow validated.

Sanders’ path, to dominating in California and in general if the nominee, seems contingent on GOTV of some blocs that traditionally tend to not bother: the somewhat overlapping sets of young, Hispanic, and Independent voters.

Do you think that turnout of those groups will be higher than usual, the same, or deceased?
Interestingly voting for Warren may be serving both interests of voting for your preferred candidate and decreasing the chances of it being a Sanders walk from here (per 538). Getting her over 15% and thereby receiving some delegates in states like California decreases the popular vote margin amplification in terms of delegate count. That actually helps Biden and preserves Warren’s slim path at the same time.

[Long post shortened] that was pretty much exactly my reasoning, only in my head it was not as well articulated.