[Editor note: Bolding and italics are present in the original...]
The pro Measure A folks have filed a complaint about a letter I wrote. Their complaint states:
“In the last three years, Alameda has had two parcel tax elections in which the outcome has been determined by a very small number of votes. This could be true of the upcoming election.”
They take umbrage at my words “Call and email at least 10 of your like minded friends, relatives and neighbors and remind them of their civic responsibility to Vote… Offer to drive friends, pick up absentee ballots and hand deliver them to the City Clerk.” Please note, I am not on any committee and do not know who all the members are of either committee, nor have I received any economic benefit from either side.
Pro Measure A voices want to limit turnout, and I believe this to be aimed at persons who need help to get their ballots counted. I believe it is incumbent upon every adult human being that is eligible to vote, to exercise that privilege. The right to vote and have a say in how we are governed is precisely what makes the United States of America a great country. Especially in a contest like Measure A, where both sides maintain a few votes may make the difference.
Pro Measure A forces claim that I somehow urged illegal activity by the Against A Committee persons. I did no such thing. But perhaps I could have been more detailed and explicit. That, I will fix:
Persons should volunteer to drive friends who are physically unable to drive to City Hall. Then they can walk together to vote or deliver absentee ballots to the City Clerk. If a voter is physically unable to leave the car even with assistance, then one can contact the City Clerk’s office in advance and ask for help. If you live with someone or are a close relative (spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother/sister) of one who is incapacitated and cannot even make it to City Hall, then that person may authorize you to deliver his or her absentee ballot by signing the back of the ballot envelope.
It is still legal for persons to place a US stamp on an absentee ballot and place it in the mail. (Though with our slow mail, if this isn’t done by this Friday, it is probably better to have a someone help you deliver the ballot personally or it may not be there by 8 PM on this Tuesday election night. ) The mail person who picks up the mail will deliver it to REGISTRAR OF VOTERS, COUNTY OF ALAMEDA, PO BOX 23340, OAKLAND, CA 94623-2334. I am unaware of laws restricting who may place such a stamped addressed envelope in the mail for a physically impaired person.
Physically unable persons may also be driven to the Alameda County Registrar’s office which is located at 1225 Fallon Street, Oakland. The Registrar’s office is in the basement. Voters may get a ballot and vote, right there on the spot, every weekday through Election Tuesday. There is a ramp for wheelchair access. And there are four elevators going to the basement. There is a slot in the wall of the Registrar’s office for depositing absentee ballots. Anyone who needs a ride should feel free to contact their friends or relatives to ask for one.
Again, please take the time to vote.
– Barbara Thomas
P.S. Just checked my mail, and it seems the Pro Measure A don’t practice what they preach. Their postcard states: “Ballots not mailed by Friday, March 4th, can be walked into ANY polling place on March 8th between 7am and 8pm.”
Reads like Pro Measure A folk are saying anyone can walk any ballot into any polling place. If the registrar of voters didn’t have better things to do on our tax dollars, I’d mail in a complaint.