In my last blog, I explained why I was seeking re-election and what I hoped to achieve if I were given another term. I also promised to share with you my plans for running what I hope will be an effective, but inexpensive campaign. Before I do, let's talk briefly about votes and how to get them.
There are only two ways to vote for a candidate for Crescenta Valley Town Council: show up at the La Crescenta Library polling station on election day, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 or vote by mail using an absentee ballot.
Let’s discuss the second option first:
To vote by mail, a voter must first request an absentee ballot in writing from the town council. No particular form is necessary, but the request must contain the voter’s full name, address, phone number and signature and include a self-addressed, postage paid envelope for the ballot. Once the town council receives a request, it sends an absentee ballot by return mail. After receiving their ballot, a voter may vote for up to three candidates. Once the ballot is marked, the voter must place it in a plain, unmarked envelope, seal it, insert the sealed envelope inside a second envelope addressed to the Crescenta Valley Town Council with the voter’s full name, address, and signature on the exterior envelope and mail postage-paid.
Voting by mail costs money and is a hassle but some candidates liked it. Here’s why: Before 2011, a candidate could give each prospective voter a pre-printed, postage-paid postcard to complete; then collect and mail the cards to the town council. Since the town council paid the return-postage for the ballot, a candidate’s costs were limited to the cost of printing the postcard, the two voting envelopes and postage for the postcard and the ballot. It was a great way of assuring a large voter turnout at minimal cost.
However, after paying the postage for a record number of absentee ballots in the 2010 election, starting in 2011, the town council changed its by-laws. Now, a candidate seeking to herd voters through the vote by mail process must arrange for each voter to make a written request, provide a postage-paid envelope addressed to the town council for each request, include with it a second stamped, self-addressed envelope for the ballot, later--provide a blank envelope for the ballot, another for mailing the ballot and pay for postage for the request and the mailed ballot—both ways. This is the process used by L.A. County. In the 2010 election over half of all votes were by mail; it will be interesting to see how these changes affect the number of absentee ballots cast this year.
As for the first option, for a voter, spending a few minutes on Saturday in a voting booth is quick, easy and costs nothing--as a candidate, it’s a real nail-biter. By Election Day, I will have spoken to lots of people about my candidacy, attended lots of civic events and received lots of support and encouragement. But until the votes are counted, I will not know how many people actually took the time to vote for me.
As for how I plan to convince you to take that few minutes on Saturday, Nov. 3 and vote for me? That’s a subject for next time.