Ranked Choice is Bad Choice

The Alameda Sun published numerous letters and an opinion piece (“Election Results Reveal Need for Ranked Choice Voting,” Dec. 8; https://alamedasun.com/news/election-results-reveal-need-ranked-choice-v...) promoting the virtues of “ranked-choice voting.” Hold your horses!

One line repeated is, “It’s simple.” Well, maybe in theory, but, in practice, a lot of voters have been very confused. And many who didn’t understand and voted for only one candidate, thereby handed over some of their voting power to those who did understand the system. Thus, the system is weighted to benefit those who can follow the maze of instructions.

Secondly, another line is that you get results “instantly.” But that “instant” can drag on for quite some time. Witness the recent Oakland mayoral election.

However, my main concern is something more serious. Voting has changed a lot over recent decades. In the 1990s the vast majority voted on election day in their precinct. It was a transparent process. Election workers had books with lists of registered voters in the precinct and you signed in and they checked your signature right there and gave you a ballot.

You voted in a booth and then dropped your ballot into a box. Accommodations were made for people with disabilities, etc., but this is how it worked for most people. The ballots were counted for that precinct at the polling station at the end of the day. Election observers could witness the entire process.

Today, it’s a whole different ball game. Despite warnings from both Republicans and Democrats about dangers of mail-in ballots, the rules have been increasingly loosened, and particularly under COVID, we went to widespread mail-in (and drop-box) ballots.

In the recent election, 92 percent were mail-in. And despite the hype, this has only marginally increased voter participation. However, it has made the entire process much more opaque.

I went several times to the Registrar of Voters office during the recent election period to observe. Many things were off limits to observers. At one point, I spoke with the Registrar, Tim Dupuis, but did not get clear answers to a number of questions. My impression is that his intention was to follow the rule book, but not really make the election process transparent to an honestly interested citizen.

I’m sure 99 percent of the election workers are perfectly upstanding in carrying out their duties, but essentially, we are asked to take it on faith that the elections are conducted fairly.

What if a bad actor comes along and wants to manipulate the results of an election? Can we swear that such a thing would never happen? I don’t think so.

The reason we have a system with election observers is to keep the system honest and to give people confidence that it is honest. The more complexities we put into the system and the more hidden we make the process from public scrutiny, the more we sacrifice public confidence.

To me, the convenience of ranked choice does not measure up. It adds more darkness to the process.

- Hunter Cobb, Member - Letter to editor published in Alameda Sun, 12/11/2022

Vote for Alison Hayden (CD14)

Why? Well, primarily because she’s not Eric Swalwell. Eric wants to be reelected, because he feels the only thing keeping inflation costs down are the Democrats, who simultaneously fund a proxy war on the other side of the world. News flash: the Democrats, in two years, have turned our economy into shambles, our immigration system into a joke and our foreign policy into a danger zone. Eric has been laser-focused on his own career. He actually had the temerity to run for President of the United States, garnering less than 1% support and dropping out. Meanwhile, he touts his big accomplishments: a footbridge in San Ramon and some funding for a park in Livermore. Alison Hayden is a candidate who will represent our district in Washington, not her own little castle in the sand. We must give her a try. What do we have to lose? Nothing. What do we have to gain? A bit of honor.

- Anthony Beckett, Pleasanton Resident - Published in The Independent 10/26/22


Let's Rally the Temporary Republicans

Over the last several years I have expressed my angst at what's happened to the Democratic Party. In the days of FDR and JFK, one could be a Democrat and be pro-industry, pro-family, etc. and “social justice” meant social justice, not legalized crime. The party was generally a defender of working people and the little guy.  Today, it has become a party led by an elitist cabal of warmongers who racialize every issue and weaponize the security state to go after their political opponents. said former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard when she announced quitting the Democratic Party. It's worth watching.

Perhaps as striking, though less publicized is the podcast from liberal reporter Sasha Stone. She's a lifelong Democrat from the milieu of Hollywood, whose piece is titled, “Meet the Temporary Republicans.”  She calls on Democrats to vote Republican until the Democratic Party returns to liberalism, saying “Right now, they have become a puritanical cult that separates children from their parents, separates all of us from our biology, common sense, and rights under the Constitution.”

I myself quit the Democratic Party a year and a half ago. I'm active now with the Alameda County Republican Party, trying to get it shaped up for the challenges we face. Across the country this movement has many faces and many facets, but there is a growing recognition that the wars, the cultural intolerance, the legal harassment, on top of an economic breakdown, is just too much. Democrats have just gone beyond the beyond, and now it's time to act. Let's keep our wits about us and truly make this country great again!

- Hunter Cobb, Member - Letter to editor published in Alameda Sun, 10/21/2022


Vote Timing and Drop Box Tactics

With mailed ballots, consider timing options.   Early ballots mean people will put the ballot aside to 'get to it later' and then forget to vote.   If you are forgetful, act immediately and use our voter web pages.

Otherwise, consider a delay signing your ballot to first week of November or deliver in-person at any Precinct in Alameda County on November 8.   The ROV sells demographic counts of ballots received-to-date.  All Parties and the Media use this data for their Get-Out-The-Vote efforts.

If physically able, your use of the drop box in front any City Hall removes the US Mail from the loop.   Sign up with Ballot Trax https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/ to confirm when your ballot arrives at the Oakland counting center.

- Harry Briley, CC Member, AD 16 with idea prompt from Mindy Pechenuk, CC Member and Assembly Candidate, AD18


Mindy Responds (Candidate for AD18)

The last two weeks there have been letters commenting on my campaign for State Assembly 18 and my opposition to Senate Bill (SB) 57, which would’ve enabled legal access to fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs in regulated “safe injection sites.” I would like to clarify Hunter Cobb’s response (“Vote for Mindy; End the drug culture,” Sept. 1; https://alamedasun.com/letters/16030), that I do not think this matter is resolved. I fully expect Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblywoman Mia Bonta and State Senator Scott Wiener, to bring it up again in a modified form. I intend to continue the fight not only to stop SB57, but to get rid of the drug culture. We need to help our fellow citizens get off the drugs and become productive contributors to our future.

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