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Several months ago, Tony Krvaric, the chair of the San Diego County Republican Party, warned his Twitter followers that mail-ballot voting is “fraught with danger.” He sent a similarly worded press release last week.
But Krvaric himself has voted by mail in 22 consecutive elections dating back to 2004 — which he openly admits. He just thinks his habit of using the mail as a convenient tool of democracy is different because he’s diligent.
Andrew Keatts reports that GOP leaders haven’t always been critical of the vote-by-mail process. In fact, mail ballots are popular among San Diego County’s Republican voters and conservative campaigns have long seen it as an opportunity rather than a threat.
One veteran political consultant who long advised Republicans and switched to work for a Democrat in 2012 dismissed allegations of voter fraud, citing the steps that state and local officials take to verify signatures. Those steps are part of the reason for the lag every election.
Evidence of mail voter fraud is exceedingly rare. But the attacks on the system from the region’s Republican Party leader mirror those made by President Donald Trump, who’s sought to undermine mail voting as local election officials have sought to expand its use during the pandemic.
What the Campaign Finance Numbers Tell Us
Mason Herron, a political consultant, has been helping us compile and understand campaign finance reports for a while. He’s also launched a new site so you can, too.
Some of the figures from around the region have surprised us. We spotlighted a few interesting takeaways in the Politics Report.
County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar has raised considerably less money in the District 3 race. Her consultant, Jason Roe, told us that she hasn’t been fundraising because of COVID and didn’t feel it was an appropriate thing to do.
Over in the mayor’s race, Councilwoman Barbara Bry raised more money from individual contributors than almost any other campaign in the region — complicating the narrative that Assemblyman Todd Gloria is the frontrunner.
“It is probably not a coincidence that Gloria released a poll this week showing how much further ahead his pollster has him,” Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts write.
Two things to keep in mind, though. These numbers don’t reflect third-party political action committees, which can (and do) spend hefty sums on candidates’ behalf. The numbers also don’t tell us how much money the candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party have raised into the party to spend on their behalf.
City Attorney Wants to Collect More in Consumer Cases
Meanwhile, Gloria has teamed up with City Attorney Mara Elliott in Sacramento that would allow her office to keep 100 percent of any penalties collected from consumer protection cases.
State law allows large cities to pursue people and businesses who engage in unfair and fraudulent practices, and a chief deputy city attorney told us that his staff have investigated hundreds of complaints during the pandemic.
But state law also requires that San Diego share the penalties from any cases with the county, even on litigation the city pursues.
Elliott recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee the arraignment was fundamentally unfair.
Speaking of Elliott, the podcast crew assessed the city attorney’s recent run-ins with San Diego media (she threatened to prosecute a reporter, then apologized) and the City Council (which boycotted a meeting because she denied them copies of documents).
The Union-Tribune also reports that a measure reducing the city attorney’s power didn’t make the November ballot. Last week, Councilman Mark Kersey, who spearheaded that effort, said deputy city attorneys successfully delayed the measure beyond the deadline. “It’ll be back in 2022,” he tweeted.
In Other News
- SANDAG executive Director Hasan Ikhrata outlined his agency’s long-awaited transportation plan Friday and Keatts has some of the details here. As the U-T’s Joshua Emerson Smith put it, Ikhrata has asked the region to decide whether it wants Los Angeles levels of gridlock or whether it’s willing to embrace European-style transit.
- Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist Kim Prather spoke with Scott Lewis about how the coronavirus spreads, how schools can adapt and what we need to do to reset.
- In an op-ed, a teacher argues that the pandemic has only deepened the impact of digital education and we should take advantage of its most positive points.
- More in schools: Black UCSD students say administrators have failed to boost Black enrollment, as promised. And Coronado Unified is working on a “racial equity action plan” in response to harassment and slurs. (Union-Tribune)
- A La Mesa police officer who shoved a Black man onto a bench during an arrest is no longer employed by the city. (NBC 7)
- The U-T analyzed the data and found more federal coronavirus payroll relief loans went to businesses in whiter, wealthier neighborhoods.
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.