The Buzz: California fares poorly again in Pew report on election conduct

State ranks near bottom

in how it runs elections

California again fares poorly in a national analysis of election administration by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

With an average score of 54 percent on a series of performance indices, California ranked 49th among 50 states. The state’s biggest downers were high numbers of unreturned mail ballots and an unfriendly website.

“California’s overall score increased from 2008 to 2012 but at a rate below the national average,” Pew said.

“If someone went to the secretary of state’s website in California, they can’t find out where their polling place is, they can’t find out what their voter registration status is,” said David Becker, Pew’s director of election studies.

Shannan Velayas, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen, said the report unfairly castigates California in several respects, such as its high level of unreturned mail ballots. She said “we have a safety net” of allowing mail ballot voters to cast provisional ballots in person, but Pew also criticizes the state for its high number of provisional ballots.

“A provisional ballot is not a bad thing,” Velayas said, contending that the analysis hits the state twice for the same thing.

– Dan Walters

Worth repeating

“They are literally becoming the dust bunny and dirty dish police.”

TIM DONNELLY, GOP candidate for governor, asserting that California’s Child Protective Services meddles too often in unwarranted cases, while devoting too little time to serious matters.