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Confidential vote for measure E?

Original post made by Confidential vote? on Apr 11, 2011

I just got my ballot over the weekend, and you have to sign the envelope and your name is on it. My neighbor was concerned, so I called the registrar of voters on his behalf. I asked if people could drop their ballot at the registrar of voters, they said no because they will start opening them 11 days before the election day. I said what about people willing to drive their ballots 11 days before the election, can they open the signed/named envelope in front of you after giving proper id (driver's license), but then put their ballot in a box where the rest of the opened ballots are so that no one can see how they voted? They said no.

I do not understand why not. When we vote at a polling place, we first sign to get our ballot but once the ballot is filled, you either drop it inside a box or put it through a scantron (without people finding out how you voted)

Anyone knows why the mail in ballot does not allow the confidential vote?

I know that many people vote absentee and that this is how they do it, but those who prefer the anonymous vote and therefore go to the polls, are not getting that chance with the mail in vote for measure E.

Comments (21)

Posted by optimistic mom, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

I have a friend who observed how mail ballots were verified, opened, and counted in the McNerney-Harmer election last fall. She did her observations in Contra Costa County, but I can't imagine that Alameda is any different.

Envelopes are loaded into a scanning machine in stacks, before they are opened. The scanner takes a picture of the signature on the outside of the envelope, and a computer pulls up an electronic image of the voter's signature on file. An individual reviews the two signatures on a screen, and confirms that they match. (Any that do not are kicked out to a separate pile to be reviewed visually.)

Once a stack of envelopes has been verified, then a different machine slits open the envelopes and extracts the ballots. They go into plastic tubs, and individuals unfold and smooth out the ballots to prepare them for vote counting. The counting is done by scanner.

In this system, no one holds your opened ballot and your signature envelope at the same time. Confidentiality is preserved.


Posted by don't get out much, do you?, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2011 at 10:02 am

An absentee ballot ALWAYS requires a signature. Read the explanation above for how it is done. This is because no one actually verifies ID at the polling place. Would you prefer to have some mail carrier give a pile of ballots to one person who could vote for you? With their choice of yes or no? Geez, paranoia is debilitating when you allow it to run your life . . . . .


Posted by Confidential vote?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

Thank you, optimistic mom. Your explanation makes sense and it is a lot better than what the people at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters say.

"An absentee ballot ALWAYS requires a signature"

I know that, but that is why many people go to the polls instead. All elections I have voted in have been at the polling place. This is the first time I am being forced to do it by mail. I would have preferred to be able to go to the polling place, just like we did with measure G, because that way I can be 100% sure my vote is confidential (rather than trust that people handlng the ballots will do the right thing and ensure a confidential vote)


Posted by don't get out much, do you?, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2011 at 11:38 am

And that is one more reason that you should vote NO. They are trying to make this as difficult and confusing for everyone as they can in the hope that many people will not turn down the salary tax.
This election should never have happened at all, until the automatic raises are frozen there is no justification for throwing more money at the PUSD. The tax will pay for ONLY the election and the raises the first year. After that the money is not even enough to pay for the automatic raises.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 11:46 am

The lies, misinformation, and fraud coming from the no on E side really pushed me to supporting Measure E.

Yes on Measure E.


Posted by by mail voting, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm

It seems to me that it would be more affordable to conduct an election entirely by mail. After all, there's no need to employ poll workers.

It also seems that an election entirely by mail increases the likely turnout. It is much easier to cast a ballot by mail at the time that works for me, rather than having to show up at a poll on a single day.

I actually think it was a good call to conduct the election by mail.


Posted by checking, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Robert, what lies, misinformation, and fraud are you talking about? I see differences of opinions. Could you let me know? I have read both sides of the ballot arguments.


Posted by Robert, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

"checking",

Plenty. Just read these forums and you can see time and time again the no on E have put out false information, like saying we already pay a parcel tax that can be used for CSR or to hire reading specialists. That wasn't true. Then there was there was the person saying a parcel tax violates proposition 13. That wasn't true either. Then there was the whole Michelle Rhee fraud thing. It goes on and on.


Posted by don't get out much, do you?, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm

and of course Robert thinks that the Yes folks have been completely truthful. Right. Like "no parcel tax money will be used for raises". So the S & C raises are not really raises Robert?
The tax will not even cover the raises next year. What part about those economics is a fraud Robert?
This is nothing but a salary tax.


Posted by checking, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Robert, I guess I have not read all of the forums, and do not expect to. I do know we already pay a Pleasanton school tax for local bonds for each property/parcel. I did not see anybody saying that bond money could be used for CSR. I just read that it was a tax we are already paying on the schools. That is correct. did not read about this violating proposition 13 and did not pay any attention to the Michelle Rhee ramble.

I thought you were saying there were lies in the ballot arguments. I could not find any lies there.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Marcia Fritz: Brown avoiding real pension reform

"...Consider the California State Teachers Retirement System. The system's unfunded liability – the difference between the promised benefits and the money to pay for them – is $56 billion, or $127,000 for each 441,544 active member.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that CalSTRS needs $4 billion more per year to pay off the system's unfunded liability in 30 years (that means we will pay, for the next 30 years, for service that was provided prior to 2010 - crazy) . Facing its own $26 billion budget deficit, the state Legislature will have trouble finding the $1.3 billion it owes CalSTRS this year. Half that amount will be spent on cost-of-living increases for retirees, which means it won't even make a dent in the system's unfunded liability.

How did we get into this mess? When times were flush, and the stock market was bullish, CalSTRS reduced teacher contributions to their own pensions from 8 percent to 6 percent of their salaries. The extra 2 percent was diverted to teachers' individual savings accounts."

I want to repeat this because the teachers union has claimed that members contribute 8% toward their own retirement. Technically that is true, but they are only contributing 6% toward their pension, "CalSTRS reduced teacher contributions to their own pensions from 8 percent to 6 percent of their salaries. The extra 2 percent was diverted to teachers' individual savings accounts." And NOW the taxpayer contribution is set to skyrocket!

This is a big issue that will have an adverse effect on the classroom. The day of reckoning is rapidly approaching and the PUSD and their denials won't solve the problem. Increasing compensation will only compound the issue and the end result is certainly reduced services to students.

Again, "The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that CalSTRS needs $4 billion more per year to pay off the system's unfunded liability in 30 years."

* That is an extra 4 billion dollars per year that won't decrease class size, increase the number of counselors, pay to update equipment, or guarantee that athletic, music, and arts programs continue to exist.

The entire article: Web Link

And yes, Cash-Out refinancing is an issue when the district paid 3-4 times the going rate to refinance debt. If your significant other refinanced your mortgage at 15% wouldn't you want to know why?


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Arnold,

I'm trying to find anything what you said that has anything to do with Measure E.


Posted by Never mail, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I wouldn't know about signing the envelope....I so totally disapprove of vote-by-mail, which is normally riddled with fraud at every level. I normally consider the vote of anybody that won't take time to go vote....as a not worthwhile vote.
I suppose I'll do this vote my mail, it won't change anything with PUSD or the teacher's union ...either way !


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Jack,

Measure E allows for increased compensation at a time when costs will go up substantially even without the increased compensation. The pension issue alone could increase employee costs by 10% of payroll. The district doesn't have the money to absorb that cost. If the district grants raises that compounds the cost of the raise by 10%.

I think what some are saying is that they would support the parcel tax if the money goes to support programs. When a measure says that the funding could include "attracting and retaining teachers" that means they could use the money for whatever they want. If they are promoting a parcel tax and including raises in the current contract it is obvious that the funds will go to "retain teachers" in the form of "increased compensation". That only adds an additional layer to fixed costs that they already know they can't afford…

How is that all about the kids? I think most teachers understand the issues. I don not think the teachers union cares about the long term consequences of their agenda; the impact that the inevitable budget cuts will have on future students - in the near term.

Do you understand the severe/compounded impact of raises and unfunded pension liabilities on the health of the PUSD budget? They have already been relying on stimulus money (running out), gimmicks like furlough days (ending), creative financing, and deferring the inevitable decisions that need to be made regarding pensions.

I think that voting yes on "E" may feel good today but will lead to more problems tomorrow. At some point you need to ask people to live within their budget. Providing the district with additional funding that can be used to increase compensation, in 2011, given the looming financial burdens, is irresponsible.

Vote how you want, I'm just voicing my opinion.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2011 at 10:20 pm

"I think that voting yes on "E" may feel good today but will lead to more problems tomorrow."

And you won't have those "problems" if Measure E fails? How does that work? At some point you need to ask people to live within their budget. PUSD was doing that until the great recession hit. As the economy recovers, they will be able to continue. Measure E helps get them through this rough patch.


Posted by Tango , a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

I have voted by mail for many years. I change to mail voting because I saw first hand how people at the poles could not keep their mouths shut about what they think of the measures and candidates. I am not sure they were aware that they were doing it. Voting in someone garage is like old home week, everyone is talking about the ballots. So much for privacy. Yes we all know the rules but forget sometimes when we are with friends and neighbors.


Posted by East Bay Resident, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Lie: "The extra 2% was diverted to teachers' individual savings accounts!" Really? Where was I?! Probably working my summer school job, which I've had to do for the past ten years because I'm single, pay for my own family-plan healthcare, and my mortgage is literally half my paycheck. Please vote yes on E to keep school jobs and maintain the excellent programs. Some of you just don't appreciate what you have here in the way of schools. Too much--that's what you get for getting your news from the Orange County Register....Proud to be PUSD teacher.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It isn't a lie. CalSTRS diverted some of the defined benefit pension contributions to the CalSTRS supplement offering.

Web Link

"Another bill a decade ago diverted a quarter of the total teacher CalSTRS contribution of 8 percent of pay to a 401(k)-style individual investment plan with guaranteed earnings of at least government bond yields.

The diversion to the Defined Benefit Supplement program ended Jan. 1 after a decade, giving the struggling CalSTRS an unannounced funding boost of an additional 2 percent of pay."


Posted by most . . . , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm

. . . people work in the summer. That's how they make a living. Voting yes, because I do appreciate the great teachers and the work you do.

But you have to appreciate that many, many people work with very few days off and can not supplement salaries with summer jobs (and it would be great to do so).


Posted by East Bay Resident, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

The post suggests contibutions were made to teachers' individual savings accounts. Not true. The DBS is a relatively small amount, available only when one retires. See the CALStrs website. Yes, I know most jobs are year-round, but I also know many teachers, esp. those of us who are single homeowners with families, must work year-round also, or have second jobs doing something else. It is frustrating to be villified by some of these posters as being spoiled, overpaid PUSD teachers when we are having a hard time making ends meet as well. And we know that other families are indeed struggling in this terrible economy. Thank you for voting Yes on E. I will tell you though, I do love my job! As hard as it can be, I have never regretted choosing this career.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Agreed, the mention about individual savings accounts was ambiguous. I think the poster was referring to the supplement program. The fact remains that CalSTRS took a slice of employee contributions that were supposed to go into the pension fund and used it to fund the supplement program instead.

Web Link "No General Fund effect and no effect to the solvency of STRS; the STRS surplus will absorb the cost of DBSP." Today we know that there is no STRS surplus and solvency is at extreme risk. Web Link "By 2006 the CalSTRS surplus was gone, after a dip in the stock market, and the funding level had dropped back down to 86 percent."


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