Barbara Boxer calls for national polling place standards

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer wants to make sure people don’t have to wait all day to cast their vote.

The Rancho Mirage Democrat today introduced the LINE Act, which would require the Attorney General and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission work together on national polling place standards. Those standards, which would need to be issued by January 2014, would include setting a minimum number of voting machines, election workers and other resources to ensure no one waits longer than an hour.

“It is unacceptable that many Americans had to wait in line for five, six or seven hours to cast their ballots,” Boxer said in a statement today. “The LINE Act will help ensure that every American has an equal chance to vote without enduring hours-long delays at their polling places.”

In a news release issued this morning, Boxer’s office noted that voters in key states such as Florida and Ohio were waiting up to seven hours to cast their ballots. Some people were still in line early Wednesday.

Such long lines are less common in California, where an increasing number of people are choosing to vote by mail.

The LINE Act is short for the “Lines Interfere with National Elections Act.”

Field Poll looks at ‘growing political might’ of ethnic voters

In a first for California’s elections, the Field Poll says turnout among the state’s ethnic voters was nearly equal to the participation among “white, non-Hispanic voters.”

The analysis, released today, is based on exit polling.

It shows that Latinos, Asian Americans and African Americans made up roughly 40 percent of the voters in the Nov. 6 election — mirroring the breakdown of registered voters statewide.

Ethnic voter participation has been on the rise since the 1994 election.

“The 2012 elections may prove to be a turning point in California politics – one that has been many years in the making – as the political might of the expanding ethnic voter population fully exerted itself in this year’s statewide elections,” the analysis states.

You can read the entire memo here, including a look at how the demographic changes could impact the Republican and Democratic parties.

Field Poll: 1 million fewer CA voters than 2008

A California Field Poll released this morning indicates that 1 million fewer voters will head to the polls today than they did in the 2008 presidential election.

The poll predicts 12.75 million Californians will participate in today’s election, compared to the 13.74 million who voted four years ago.

If the estimate proves true, that would equate to roughly 70 percent of all registered voters. Figures released last week show a record number of 18.2 million voters are registered statewide.

In Riverside County, the registrar is predicting a 75 percent turnout.

Two people you can be sure are casting a ballot: Rep. Mary Bono Mack and Democratic congressional challenger Raul Ruiz.

Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, already cast her ballot by mail. Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert, plans to vote when polls open at 7 a.m.

Tuesday’s election by the numbers

The Secretary of State today released a handful of statistics that give voters a preview of Tuesday’s election by the numbers.

There are:

18,245,970 Californians registered to vote;

24,491 voting precincts statewide;

154 legislative and congressional seats on the ballot, including the 36th Congressional race and two Assembly districts that impact the Coachella Valley;

320 federal and state candidates vying for your vote;

9.1 million vote-by-mail ballots issued;

3,820,545 voters having “no political party preference;”

7,966,422 registered Democrats and

5,356,608 registered Republicans.

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters is expecting about 75 percent of the county’s voters will participate in Tuesday’s election.

Statewide, the highest turnout for a presidential election was reached in 1964 when 88.4 percent of voters participated. The lowest was in 1996, when 65.5 percent of registered voters statewide cast a ballot.

Democrats now outnumber GOP in 36th Congressional district

New voter registration statistics show Democrats have erased the voter registration advantage Republicans held in the 36th Congressional District and technically turned the district blue.

Democrats now outnumber Republicans by 118 voters, according to figures released today by the California Secretary of State’s office.

A total of 292,936 voters are registered in the 36th Congressional seat, which includes the entire Coachella Valley.

Of those, 114,406 people — or 39.05 percent — are registered Democrats and 114,288 voters — or 39.01 percent — are Republican.

The figures show another 50,115 people have no party preference, making up 17.11 percent of all registered voters in the district.

The new tally means Tuesday’s election will be the first time that Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack of Palm Springs has sought re-election in a blue district. She faces Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert.

Registration for this presidential election closed on Oct. 22.

Dems, GOP hold get-out-the-vote rallies

Both the Republicans and the Democrats are holding rallies this week as part of the bipartisan effort to get voters to the polls.

Republcians, who held a rally Tuesday night for Rep. Mary Bono Mack, will hold a similar celebration this Thursday. This one is done in conjunction with Indio Mayor Glenn Miller’s campaign. It starts at 6 p.m. at a private home in Indio’s Country Estates. Information: (760) 899-2772

Democrats have three get-out-the-vote rallies planned in partnership with congressional challenger Raul Ruiz’s campaign:

– Saturday: Supporters will meet at 1 p.m. at El Mexicali Cafe in Indio, 82720 Indio Blvd.

– Monday: Democrats will gather at at noon at Frances Stevens Park in Palm Springs. They’ll also meet at 6 p.m. in Coachella at 49-305 Grapefruit Blvd.

Information: (760) 969-8459

In addition, Democratic Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez is holding a get-out the-vote effort Saturday that’s focused on Latino voters. It starts at 3 p.m. at 1494 Sixth Street in Coachella. Actress Rosario Dawson, who co-founded Voto Latino, will be featured.

The event was announced through Perez’s legislative office, indicating it will not be focused on just one candidate’s campaign.

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters expects about 75 percent of all registered voters will cast a ballot in Tuesday’s election. The county is already counting the vote-by-mail ballots that have been cast.

Although Latino voters are traditionally harder to get to the polls, a national survey released this week indicates 87 percent of Latino voters will participate this year.

Updated as of 2 p.m. Nov. 1:

Bono Mack’s campaign has just announced that supporters will rally in San Jacinto on Saturday. Rep. Jerry Lewis, a Redlands Republican who represents many of the western areas in the new 36th, will be among the speakers. The rally starts at 11 a.m. at Estudillo Mansion, 150 S. Dillon Ave.

Survey: 87 percent of Latino voters will go to polls

Both Republicans and Democrats have been targeting local Latinos in this eleciton, a voting bloc that’s traditionally hard to get to the polls.

A survey released this week indicates 87 percent of Latinos nationwide are “almost certain” they will vote next Tuesday.

The survey also found that 45 percent of Latinos are more excited about this election than they were the 2008 presidential vote.

The polling was done by inpreMedia and Latino Decisions, a project of Pacific Market Research and scholars at Stanford University and the University of Washington.

“The poll shows that this year we can anticipate record participation among Latino voters,” impreMedia CEO Monica Lozano said in a statement.

“However, Latinos are also realistic about what it will take to make real progress on the issues they care about, especially given the lack of cooperation among our elected representatives in Congress.”

Update: Population figures show that roughly 47 percent of all residents in the 36th Congressional District are Latino. However, the Riverside County registrar does not provide a breakdown of its voter registration figures by race.


Bono Mack: Latino voter outreach to come after election

In case you missed it, both Rep. Mary Bono Mack and Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz were out on the campaign trail Monday.

My colleague Rebecca Walsh was at the Indian Wells Rotary Club where Bono Mack said Republicans need to do a better job with voter outreach to Latinos, including registration booths at naturalization ceremonies.

“We’re missing a big opportunity,” Bono Mack said. “Most Latinos understand that centralized government, big government institutions are not the way to go.”

Still, the Palm Springs Republican — facing her first Latino challenger – indicated she won’t be taking advantage of that opportunity in the next two weeks.

“I pledge that after November, I will try my hardest to speak to Latino voters,” Bono Mack said. “This election, I’m a little bit hamstrung. But I will do my best. Because I think that they deserve the attention that we need to give them.”


Today marks deadline to register to vote

Today is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election.

The easiest way to do it is by the new online registration offered via the California Secretary of State’s office.

You can find more information here.

If you need help getting registered, don’t hesitate to contact the Riverside County Registrar of Voters at (951) 486-7200.

Sample ballots to hit mailboxes

The Riverside County Registrar of Voters today will start sending out about 890,000 sample ballots and informational pamphlets today.

About half will be mailed now, with the remainer going to voters early next week.  The information can also be found online.

This comes with just 12 days left until the registrar sends out vote-by-mail ballots. Early voting will also start on Oct. 9.

Registrar Kari Verjil is expecting record-breaking registration for the Nov. 6 election.

Want to be part of the 900,000-plus people who can participate in the presidential election? You must be registered by Oct. 22.