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More 2012 US Election Dissatisfaction: California’s Prop 37

Outline
There have been a number of inquiries emailed to Hoax-Slayer regarding the California’s Proposition 37, its apparent defeat, and claims of voter fraud in light of hundreds of thousands of uncounted votes days past the actual election.



Brief Analysis
The state of California frequently includes ‘propositions’ (aka “Props”) in election cycles, those propositions being proposed laws submitted to the electorate for approval in a direct vote.  In the November 6, 2012 election, Prop 37 (relating to labeling of foods containing GMOs) was declared defeated soon after the polls closed.  Some proponents of the measure soon began to bring up the number of uncounted ballots, and the potential impact of those ballots on the outcome.  Some going so far as to claim there was potentially fraud afoot.  There is no indication at this point that there is anything nefarious going on with either the outcome or the delay.  Given California’s very lenient position on early voting, they give counties an entire month to finalize vote counts.

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Last updated: November 14, 2012
First published: November 14, 2012
Article researched and written by David M. White
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Prop 37 Protest

Read the full article here




Detailed Analysis
As noted, in the State of California, Propositions (Props) are proposed laws submitted to the electorate for approval in a direct vote.  Submission may be from the state’s legislature, or by a petition signed by members of the public under the state’s initiative system.   Those props only directly impact the state of California; in some cases they do result in nationwide changes (e.g., a manufacturer might not create an entirely separate label just for the California market and opt for a nationwide change, and in the most optimistic cases could result in adopting as Federal law).  In the November 6, 2012 election, Prop 37, which would require specific labeling of foods sold to consumers that were made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways, was declared defeated soon after the polls closed. 

This soon led to claims, such as in the example noted above and here, that there was voter fraud involved based on the fact that there were thousands – in fact millions – of votes remaining uncounted not only when the Prop 37’s defeat was announced on 06 November, but days later.  Without getting into the larger issue regarding the voting equipment used in the state of California, the basic issue of having ballots uncounted a week after an election in California is nothing new.  In fact, it’s standard operating procedure.  California is one of the states that allows no-excuse absentee voting and early voting by mail.  Voters can even become a permanent ‘vote by mail’ voter

There is, however, an important distinction between showing up at your precinct, signing in and voting, and mailing in your ballot.  With an absentee, mail-in or provisional ballot, elections officials must confirm the voter's registration status, verify the voter's signature on the vote-by-mail envelope, and ensure the person did not vote elsewhere in the same election.  Given the hundreds of thousands of early, mail-in and absentee votes, this canvassing is a time consuming process and election officials are given one month from the date of the election to complete the process and provide the results to the California Secretary of State.  The fact that one week after an election there are hundreds of thousands remaining to be tallied is not at all unusual.  The Sec. State then has one week to certify those results.

So far as Prop 37 goes, the measure only carried about 16 counties across the state.  The LA Times election tracking page provides a good visual aid in looking at the areas of the state where the measure was defeated, as well as providing some interesting information as to the amount of money spent by both sides of the issue.  Even with the large number of uncounted early and mail in votes, Prop 37 was declared defeated for fairly good reason.  Even the campaign manager for “Yes on 37” recognized that the trend in the early and mail in votes was against that proposition:  "There are still about three million uncounted votes. About two million of those are early voters, whom we lost by a large margin. We won’t win."

Rather than crying foul, many of Prop 37’s supporters are looking at the longer term picture – they have succeeded in putting the issue on a national stage, and are gaining support for similar measures in other states. 

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References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_ballot_proposition
http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/37/
http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/did-peop-37-really-lose-or-was-it-vote-fraud/
http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/absentee-and-early-voting.aspx
http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_m.htm

Last updated: November 14, 2012
First published: November 14, 2012
Article researched and written by David M. White
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer