Raul Ruiz appearances in Palm Springs area announced

Rep. Raul Ruiz speaks in favor of gay marriage at a rally for marriage equality  Tuesday, March 26, 2013, across the street from the Palm Springs City Hall. (Richard Lui, The Desert Sun)

Rep. Raul Ruiz speaks in favor of gay marriage at a March 26 rally in Palm Springs. (Richard Lui, The Desert Sun)

Rep. Raul Ruiz, the Coachella Valley’s congressman, will be making stops across the valley in the coming days.

We last saw Ruiz speaking in favor of gay marriage at a Palm Springs rally held between the U.S. Supreme Court’s two days of arguments on same-sex marriage cases.

City News Service has details on the Palm Desert Democrat’s upcoming appearances:

PALM SPRINGS — Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, will make four public appearances in the Coachella Valley over the next several days, starting Wednesday.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, Ruiz will visit the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center in Palm Springs to commemorate National Community Development Week.

On Thursday at 10 a.m., Ruiz will visit the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage. At 11:45 a.m., he will speak at the La Quinta Chamber of Commerce Mayor’s Lunch at the La Quinta Resort.

On Friday starting at 2 p.m., Ruiz, who is a doctor, will work a two-hour shift at Remote Area Medical’s free health clinic at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio.

Video: Tina Fey brings back Sarah Palin impression

Ever wonder what Sarah Palin thinks about “Dancing With the Stars” audience members and what fashion advice she’d give her admirers?

Tina Fey brought back her impression of the former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee — or, as Fey’s Palin prefers, “half-governor or … maverick-at-large” — to talk on those topics with “Inside the Actors Studio” host James Lipton, who Mediaite notes often asks questions of actors and their characters:

If you’re jonesing for the real Sarah Palin instead, here’s a clip from her recent appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington:

Obama inauguration ticket request process announced

Barack Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20, 2009, as his wife, Michelle, holds the Lincoln Bible and daughters Sasha, right and Malia, watch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.  (Chuck Kennedy, pool via AP)

Barack Obama takes the oath of office Jan. 20, 2009, as his wife, Michelle, holds the Lincoln Bible and daughters Sasha, right and Malia, watch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Tickets for Obama's second, smaller inauguration are available through Rep. Raul Ruiz's office. (Chuck Kennedy, pool via AP)

The Palm Springs High School band has been invited to march in Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade, and Bill Clinton will be heading to the inauguration from the Humana Challenge since he’s chairiman of the event.

Want to join them for the festivities Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C.? Rep. Raul Ruiz, a Palm Desert Democrat who represents the Coachella Valley, has announced how his constituents can request inauguration tickets.

Ruiz’s office asked anyone wanting tickets — limited to two per person — to email CA36.Inauguration@mail.house.gov by Thursday with this information:
• Name
• Address
• Phone number
• Number of tickets requested

Tickets will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the congressman’s office.

Information: (202) 225-5330

Barbara Boxer: NRA head ‘blamed everyone in sight — except his own organization’

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat, speaks to citizens at the Mizell Senior Center about the need to preserve Medicare and Medicaid for seniors during a press conference Friday October 12, 2012. Michael Snyder, The Desert Sun.

Sen. Barbara Boxer speaks at an October news conference in Palm Springs. (Michael Snyder, The Desert Sun)

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat, put out this statement on Friday morning’s NRA press conference:

“The head of the NRA blamed everyone in sight – except his own organization – for gun violence in America, and showed himself to be completely out of touch by ignoring the proliferation of weapons of war on our streets.

“The NRA is now calling for stronger security at our schools. They should endorse my legislation, which would fund security upgrades for schools and trained law enforcement personnel to protect our kids.

“In the days ahead, I will work for a comprehensive strategy, which includes sensible gun laws, a focus on mental health and school safety.”

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre called for armed police officers to be put in every American school Friday. Read more and watch clips from the press conference here.

Secession petitions get little support in Riverside County

Remember those petitions that called for states to secede from the United States?

Sociology graduate students at the University of North Carolina analyzed those petitions to find out who was signing them and where the signers were from, and the county-level data shows relatively little support for secession petitions coming from Riverside County residents.

The researchers found that, to sign a secession petition on the White House website, you don’t have to live in the state that you’d like separated from the union, and it seems a number of people are signing multiple petitions. The UNC students analyzed 916,474 signatures and identified 320,900 unique signers, most of whom gave valid locations.

The New Secessionists map shows darker colors for counties with higher levels of support for White House secession petitions on whitehouse.gov. (Screenshot from unc.edu)

The New Secessionists map shows darker colors for counties with higher levels of support for White House secession petitions on whitehouse.gov. (Screenshot from unc.edu)

The 607 petitioners the students plotted in Riverside County make it one of the cooler spots on the national heat map the students produced, given the county’s 2 million-plus population.

Compare that to the 268 signers from Campbell County, Wyoming (population: 563,626) or the 125 from Blanco County, Texas (population: 10,497). It’s worth noting that even in that central Texas hot spot, only about 1 percent of the population signed on to a secession petition.

Back in California, Imperial County’s 174,528 residents were even cooler to the idea of secession than Riverside County’s. Only 13 signers could be plotted there.

READ MORE: The New Secessionists (unc.edu)

HAT TIP: Joe Murphy via Ryan Mark

About 1 in 4 Riverside County ballots yet to be counted

Voter audit trail scrolls for the 100% ballot hand count are ready for examination June 17, 2010 at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Voter audit trail scrolls for the 100% ballot hand count are ready for examination June 17, 2010 at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

Riverside County Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil just released estimates of how many ballots have yet to be processed:

“Approximately, 105,000 vote-by-mail, 60,000 provisional, and 18,000 damaged ballots that require duplication still must be processed. Work on those ballots begins today. The next updated results will be posted at 6pm on Thursday.”

That adds up to roughly 183,000 ballots that have yet to be counted.

Pair that with the 499,027 already tallied Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and we’re looking at a total of about 682,000 ballots cast in the county by Tuesday.

The uncounted share is about a quarter of that approximate total — 26.8 percent, but we’re dealing with rough numbers.

Compare that to the 106,000 outstanding ballots that marked about 44 percent of ballots cast outstanding after Election Night in June 2010, a contest that marked the beginning of the end for former Registrar Barbara Dunmore.

Verjil has told my colleagues in the past that trends usually hold firm as these left-to-be-processed ballots are counted.

Riverside County last in California in terms of precincts reporting

A  voter audit trail scroll  is examined with the 100 percent ballot  hand count June 17, 2010, at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office in Riverside.   (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

A voter audit trail scroll is examined with the 100 percent ballot hand count June 17, 2010, at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office in Riverside. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)

The 6:19 a.m. update from the California Secretary of State shows Riverside County still has only 70.8 percent of its precincts at least partially reporting.

Every other county in the state has at least one ballot counted from each of its precincts this morning, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

• For more on how the vote count works and Riverside County’s history of slow tallies, read Kate McGinty’s overnight post on election returns.

• For the latest results, visit http://mydesert.co/CVresults12

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the author of a previous post.

Voting problems reported in Palm Springs area

Here are the voting problems we’ve received word of Tuesday morning:

Voting problems reported in Palm Springs area

Here are the voting problems The Desert Sun has received word of in the Nov. 6, 2012 election. Let us know about any voting problems you encounter by emailing localnews@thedesertsun.com or using the #CVelection hashtag on Twitter.

Storified by Brian Indrelunas · Tue, Nov 06 2012 10:10:19

• Voters at some Palm Springs area precincts say they’re not receiving the take-home stub from their ballots:
Some voters at #PalmDesert Precinct 44043 are not receiving the take-home stubs attached to their ballots. @MyDesert #cvelectionCrystal Chatham
@MyDesert here in DHS voting stub not given back at angel view polling stationCraig Spector-Howell
• A voter tells us that he wanted to vote for President Barack Obama, but an electronic voting machine at the Center for Spiritual Living, 2100 Racquet Club Road in Palm Springs, showed he had selected Mitt Romney. Poll workers shut down the machine and gave him a paper ballot, he said.
YouTube user centralpavote posted a video of a similar issue, presumably in Pennsylvania. (The choices seem to match.)
2012 Voting Machines Altering Votescentralpavote
• Reporter Denise Goolsby is looking into a report of spoiled ballots at a Palm Springs polling place, and we’re trying to get more information from this Twitter user:
Voted this morning in Palm Springs, but suspect VOTER FRAUD! Was given a ballot that was already FILLED IN, and not for my pres candidate!Juan Romero
Check your ballot carefully to make sure it is not already marked. One I was handed this morning was PRE-MARKED, but not with my choice!Juan Romero
@dhenley321 "Vote early, vote often!" I did. Official gave me a previously-marked ballot, but for person not my choice, so I got another.Juan Romero
• Desert Hot Springs Councilman Russell Betts said he saw an unusually long line of people waiting for provisional ballots at the city’s senior center, 11-777 West Drive, and also found his name absent from the voter roll.
“For the first time in 10 years, I go to vote and my name isn’t on the list,” he said. 
Desert Sun staff contributed to this report.

Let us know about voting problems you encounter: Email localnews@thedesertsun.com or