Under a bill that just passed the California Assembly, the already notoriously slow California post-election counting period that often takes weeks to determine a winner in a close election, would grow even longer. In an effort to stop a lawsuit that says Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) does not have the power to order the Secretary of State to mail a live ballot to all California voters, the Assembly passed a measure to codify that power and, among other points, would expand the post-election ballot reception period from three to 17 days. The bill must now pass the state Senate before moving to Gov. Newsom for his signature.
Once this bill becomes law, it could be well into December before some close election Golden State winners are declared.
The Republican National Committee and California Republican Party have filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of California attempting to declare unlawful Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) executive order that all voters be mailed absentee ballots for the coming general election. Previously, absentee ballot request forms were sent prior to a qualified voter receiving an actual ballot.
Among other points, the lawsuit contends that, “automatically mail(ing) ballots to inactive voters…invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting. Fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens and deprive them of their right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
On the heels of Republican Mike Garcia’s victory in the CA-25 special congressional election, the FiveThirtyEight Polls web page published the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) Targeting and Analytics Department last survey of the race (5/8-10; 675 CA-25 voters). They found their candidate, state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall), leading 48-46%. The actual reported preliminary total: Garcia, 56-44%.
The DCCC claims their sample for this poll was a universe for the upcoming general election. Thus, they claim, defeated candidate Smith is still in the game for November. This poll, however, was completed two days before the May 12th special, which makes it hard to believe their main focus was the regular general election.
Despite thousands of ballots still to be received and counted in the California special congressional election, Democratic state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D) has conceded defeat to Republican Mike Garcia. The early totals, representing almost 144,000 votes, broke heavily for the GOP retired Navy fighter pilot, 56-44%. His total included a surprisingly large 55-45% margin in dominant Los Angeles County, which was enough to spell defeat for the Democratic candidate who was originally favored to hold the seat that scandal-ridden Rep. Katie Hill (D) resigned late last year.
The preliminary votes were counted last night in the important southern California special congressional election to replace resigned Rep. Katie Hill (D), and Republican Mike Garcia has opened a large 56-44% lead over state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) with more than 143,000 votes tabulated, a healthy margin of over 17,000 votes.
Ballots can still be received via mail through Friday, so we won’t see new tallies coming until sometime next week. Even if 60,000 ballots or so come into the county administration centers, Ms. Smith would have to obtain over 65% of the remaining ballots to pull the election out. Should Mr. Garcia claim the victory, it will be a major shot in the arm for the national Republicans.
Today is Election Day in three states as two special congressional elections will be decided, and Nebraska holds its regular primary.
The California special election will fill the seat that former Rep. Katie Hill (D) resigned due to scandal in the latter part of 2019. The candidates are state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) and retired Navy fighter pilot Mike Garcia (R). Both parties have spent heavily, and the candidates have raised and spent over $2 million apiece. Additionally, several points of controversy has arisen here as Smith was caught on camera belittling Garcia’s military experience, whether or not the all-mail voting system with limited polling places has been corrupted, and if the final result in a politically marginal district is a harbinger of what we might see nationally in November.
Don’t expect a quick result. With California’s system of allowing ballots to come in days after the election and having until July 15th to certify the vote, tonight’s vote will just be the beginning of what figures to be a rather long process. Regardless of the outcome, both candidates have qualified for the ballot in the November general election and will face each other again.
Late last year, Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) resigned his seat for family reasons and the successor will surely be chosen tonight. In a district that stretches through most of northwest Wisconsin, Republican state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) is the heavy favorite going into today’s balloting in a district that has become securely Republican during the current decade. The Democratic nominee, who has only spent about $350,000, is Wausau School Board member Tricia Zunker, but she has not attracted much in the way of national support. Expect a Tiffany victory in a vote plateau that should exceed 53 percent.
With Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) in no danger from a primary challenge today, the most hotly contested race is Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary.
Three candidates including 2018 nominee Kara Eastman, who scored 49% of the vote against two-term Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillon/Omaha) and returns for a re-match, are battling for the party nod. The other two contenders are Ann Ashford, wife of former Congressman Brad Ashford (D-Omaha), and restaurant manager Gladys Harrison. Ms. Eastman is favored to win tonight’s primary, and the 2nd District general election again promises to be a tight affair in one of the five districts throughout Nebraska and Maine that could yield an extra electoral vote to a presidential candidate.
Currently, 22 states have adopted some type of election law changes that will allow more mail voting to various degrees for at least their upcoming primary elections.
To the more extreme extent, five states, according to the Ballotpedia organization, are doing away with the application process and simply sending absentee ballots to every voter. They are: California, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey. Lawsuits to institute similar changes or make even more drastic alterations such as allowing ballot harvesting and extending the deadline to return the ballot to ten days past the election, are alive in nine additional states.
Resigned US Rep. Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce/ Palmdale) just released an ad for the May 12th special election being held to replace her, but curiously doesn’t mention supporting Democratic candidate Christy Smith or even attacking Republican Mike Garcia. The ad starts with blaming people in “the building behind me” for how they are handling the Coronavirus pandemic, but it is not clear to what building she is referring as the camera pans the area behind her from a distance. Then, she simply urges people to vote in the special election.
The National Republican Congressional Committee yesterday announced that they have reserved $690,000 in cable television ads to support their special election candidate, retired Iraq War fighter pilot Mike Garcia, in his campaign opposite state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) for the right to succeed resigned Rep. Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce/Palmdale).
It is likely the Democratic committees and their outside allies will outspend the Republicans in this contest, but it is apparent that this politically marginal district is a priority for both parties. While Ms. Smith placed first in the special election jungle primary with 36.1% of the vote, the aggregate Democratic vote exceeded that of the combined Republican candidates by just a 50.5 – 49.5% margin. In the regular primary election featuring a slightly altered field of candidates but on the same ballot, the aggregate Republican vote was slightly larger than that of the combined Democrats, 49.6 - 48.9%, with an Independent candidate receiving 1.4 percent.
The special election will be held on May 12th, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced last week that voting will be conducted through the mail.
The special election to replace resigned Rep. Katie Hill (D) was held on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, but questions were being posed as to what Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) might do with the May 12th special general election in reference to COVID-19 virus precautions. Other states with elections on that date have already postponed their vote. Mr. Newsom, on the other hand, has decided that all CA-25 registered voters would receive a mail ballot and a small number of polling places will be operational for those who want to vote in person.
Therefore, the May 12th special election between state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) and retired Navy fighter pilot Mike Garcia (R) will still have an election on that date. Under the California verification and tabulation process, however, the final result won’t be known for several days after the last ballots are received on the Friday of election week, which in this case is May 15th.
Gov. Newsom’s procedural decision makes sense because at least two-thirds of California voters typically vote by mail. Therefore, this system won’t be much different than a normal Golden State election. The special election between Ms. Smith and Mr. Garcia looks to be heading toward a close finish.
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