“I’ve got to go back to 1964 to find people so fiercely opposed to just doing modest things to let people vote” –San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher
Funding for satellite offices in four county supervisor’s voting districts was approved by the Board of Supervisors at a special meeting on Monday.
After an initial attempt to allocate additional funds failed last week because it required four votes, Supervisor Diane Jacobs called for transferring existing funds from the Finance and General Government Group budget, which only needed three votes.
San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar turned to the same playbook Republicans are using in the House of Representatives, spinning an attempt at expanding voter access into a conspiracy to attack democracy.
She justified her no vote last week by conflating adding satellite offices with an option not currently under consideration. It certainly appeared as though she wasn’t paying attention. Or maybe it was just the best excuse she could come up with on short notice. (Supervisor Desmond, the other no vote, claimed an unfunded state mandate as his reason.)
This time Gaspar didn’t vote at all.
She gave a six minute speech, quoting President John F Kennedy’s defense of democratic institutions (in a totally different context) before leaving the meeting, saying her voice didn’t count.
A bi-partisan team of Supervisors responded to Gaspar’s attempt at drama.From the Union-Tribune:
Cox and Fletcher disputed Gaspar’s accusations about a conspiracy to hold the special meeting, saying they each had to cancel other appointments to make the meeting.
“The bottom line is we cannot do democracy on the cheap,” Cox said. “Democracy is something that is ingrained in this country; it is something that we have a responsibility as elected officials to make … as easy as we possibly can for the electorate to go to the polls, to register, to re-register … and now, with same-day registration, it has created some new problems for the registrar of voters that we have to address.”
Fletcher said this should not be a difficult issue. He likened the fierce objections to what was said in opposition to the Voting Rights Act in the 1960s.
“There is an absurdity to the hysteria and conspiracy notions that we are talking about today,” he said. “It is fine to say, ‘I don’t think we should have more polling locations,’ but I just think, as a county, this is our job, and this is what we do.”
County GOP Chair Tony Krvaric denounced the vote by Republicans Cox and Jacobs, throwing in jab at Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez for good measure.
County Democratic Chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy also weighed in:
A state law passed earlier this year allows people to register to vote or change their party identification at any polling location on Election Day, and it is hoped that having additional staffing and locations will ease backlogs at neighborhood polling places.
This all sounds pretty straightforward, unless you’re a Republican County Supervisor who’s tied their persona to an unpopular president running for re-election in a toss up district.
Jacob, who chairs the board, said she called Monday’s special meeting because the election is only 120 days away, and the board needs to take quick action to ensure the registrar’s office has the tools it needs to conduct an effective election.
“I’ve heard a lot of rhetoric since our meeting (last week) which some might call political grandstanding, but, frankly, it isn’t worth a response,” Jacob said at the start of the meeting.
“I’ll stick to the facts this morning. … Our respected registrar of voters, our county counsel, our chief administrative officer and the majority of the board agreed that four satellite voting facilities are needed to help manage the requirement for conditional voter registration and to ultimately certify the election results in the allowed time.”
Make no mistake about this, folks, Third District Supervisor Kristen Gaspar is sweating the upcoming election. It’s even possible she’ll place third, meaning voters will choose between two Democrats in the general election.
As is true with others of her persuasion around the country, Gaspar could benefit from a lower turnout caused by in person voters unable to wait long enough to get inside a polling place. Even without the new state law, the line at the registrar’s office was wrapped around the block in a recent election.
Here’s what Registrar of Voters Michael Vu had to say, via KPBS :
Vu said during the last year’s general election, there were lines over five football fields long at the county Operations Center in Kearny Mesa.
“The last person to enter the ROV (Registrar of Voters) building was at approximately midnight on election day,” Vu said. “Can this occur again? Yes, we should expect it.”
With 120 days left until the March primary, “my team and I need certainly and finality to prepare for the upcoming election,” Vu said. “We cannot duck our head in the sand.”
Running against the incumbent Republican are two high profile Democrats, each with substantial backing and followers.
Escondido City Council member
Olga Diaz has more than a decade of experience operating as a minority of one in an overtly hostile and reactionary setting. A surge in turnout due –in part— to extensive voter canvassing in support of Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar’s congressional campaign against Duncan Hunter, flipped what was not long ago considered one of America’s most conservative cities to Blue.
Native San Diegan and Obama administration alum
Terra Lawson-Remer gained local recognition as founding co-chair and chief strategist for the broad-based community effort Flip the 49th! Neighbors in Action (Now Neighbors in Action) she was at the center of Congressman Mike Levin’s 13-point victory in 2018, replacing Darrell Issa.
Meanwhile, over in the District 2 County Supervisor contest… Republicans gonna be Republican. I guess…
Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35-year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He’s won numerous awards for his columns from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.