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Political consultant Tom Shepard is a big fan of what’s known as “ballot chasing.” It’s an expensive, yet quite effective, way to reach absentee voters.

Here’s the deal. Every election, weeks before Election Day, the Registrar of Voters sends out the massive load of absentee ballots to voters around the county. Using absentee-voting records, political consultants time the delivery of their mail pieces to coincide with the delivery of absentee ballots.

That means voters get the absentee ballot and the ad piece from the political campaign at the same time.

Why is this important? Absentee balloting is becoming more and more popular. Shepard’s shop estimates between 40 percent and 44 percent of all voters will do so with absentee ballots this election.

That means that all these hundreds of thousands of dollars that unions have spent in the last few weeks trying to sway voters to vote against Proposition C will fall on the ears of a large number of people who already made up their mind.

When absentee ballots first went out at the beginning of October, unions still didn’t have an organized opposition to raise or spend funds to fight the two essentially anti-union ballot measures of Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Shepard is Sanders’ political consultant and ran the campaigns for Props B and C.

Note how Shepard’s two initiatives did after absentee ballots (the first ones to get counted) were reported:

Prop B: 75 percent yes, 25 percent no.

Prop C: 67 percent yes, 33 percent no.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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