Thank you, Cambria! Your new directors are Amanda Rice, Gail Robinette and Muril Clift.

Number of Precincts 3 0 3
Precincts Reporting 3 0 3 100
Vote For 3 3 3
Ballots Cast (Reg. Voters 4232) 1204 1919 3123 73.8%
Total Votes 2510 4184 6694
AMANDA RICE 579 827 1406 21.00%
GAIL ROBINETTE 505 878 1383 20.66%
MURIL CLIFT 460 891 1351 20.18%
MIKE MC LAUGHLIN 422 764 1186 17.72%
TOM GRAY 351 599 950 14.19%
KIM MC DANIEL 68 153 221 3.30%
Write-in Votes 125 72 197 2.94%
VBM = Vote by Mail

Counting Your Votes – How It Will be Done

While you may not be waiting impatiently for the results of this year’s election, I know I will be very anxious to know the outcome. Once polls close at 8pm, here is the plan, according to the County Clerk-Recorder (who is in charge of elecions)

After the last voter in line at 8:00 p.m. has cast their ballot, the precinct workers pack up and return precinct materials and the voted ballots in sealed containers to either the regional collection centers or directly to the Elections office in San Luis Obispo.
Elections staff verifies that all ballots and required materials have been received and that security measures have been followed prior to releasing the precinct workers. All ballots  and materials are brought to the Government Center in San Luis Obispo for ballot counting and secure storage.
As in the past, results of early vote-by-mail ballots (those received by Saturday, November 3rd) will be available immediately after the polls close at 8:00 pm. All ballots voted at the polls will be counted centrally in the County Clerk-Recorder’s office on Election night.
The ballots will be transported from our regional collection centers in Paso Robles, Atascadero, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande to the Government Center for counting. The staff of the Clerk-Recorder’s office is assisted in this endeavor by over 20 employees from other departments. The time it takes to count the ballots will depend on the Election Day turnout, however final unofficial election night results should be available by 12:30 a.m.

There are three categories of ballots which cannot be processed on Election Night:

1. VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOTS TURNED IN ELECTION DAY- Many vote-by-mail voters wait until Election Day to make their voting choices and then drop off their ballots at a polling place. These ballots are received after the polls close on election night. All vote-by-mail ballots must be pre-processed before they are counted- including entering that the ballot has been returned to protect against double voting and verifying the voter’s signature against the signature on file in our office.

2.  PROVISIONAL BALLOTS- Provisional Ballots are voted at the polls when the precinct workers cannot determine the voter’s eligibility to vote in that election.Provisional ballots are sealed in special envelopes and must be individually researched and verified at the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office before the ballot is counted or rejected in accordance with election laws. There are several reasons why someone would be required to vote a provisional ballot at the polling location:

  • Voter is listed as having received a vote-by-mail ballot but does not have the ballot to surrender at the polls.
  • Voter is voting under the fail safe provisions of the National Voting Rights Act. A fail safe voter is a registered voter in this county, who has moved and did not re-register to vote or notify the elections office of his/her change  of address.
  • Voter’s name is not on the roster, but the voter insists they are eligible to vote in that precinct.
  • Voter is required to show identification as a first time voter under the Help America Vote Act and cannot produce the required identification.

In each of these instances, the elections staff must verify that the voter is eligible to vote the ballot they were issued and verify the voter’s signature prior to opening the ballot for processing. The number of provisional ballots continues to climb and in the November 2008 election there were 3,716 provisional ballots requiring about 400 hours of staff time to verify, open and count.

3.  DAMAGED BALLOTS: Election Day ballots that are unable to be processed by the ballot scanners because of stray marks, overvotes or tears. These ballots need to be duplicated prior to counting.

The majority of the vote-by-mail ballots are counted by the Friday after the election. Some of these ballots require additional processing and their count is completed in the provisional and damaged ballots are normally counted just prior to certification of the results. Results are released as a count is completed and a schedule of counting dates and times will be posted on the County Clerk-Recorder website after the election.

I will probably be over at Cambria Beer Company Tap Room on Cornwall (across from the Texaco) with any supporters interested in being there. We’ll be watching the national and state election returns and monitoring the County’s website for results in the CCSD and CUSD races. If the location changes, I’ll post it here and on facebook (and probably put a sign at the Tap Room).

Don’t forget to vote tomorrow: Amanda Rice!


Other Candidates Say No Thanks to’s Offer of Venue

With the election less than a week away, I invited the candidates for CCSD to provide information for the community to, the local information resource I’ve authored and managed for 5 years. Each of them, citing their busy schedule and how close election day is, declined my invitation. Mike, Gail and Tom also felt the need to explain (in some detail) that they felt they had gotten their message out effectively. Muril and Steve both offered genuine reasons for declining. (Steve just plain said he didn’t want to). I didn’t hear back from Kim.

Sorry, Cambria. The candidates have once again declined a shared  public venue for expressing their positions and ideas.  It wouldn’t be too much of a leap to say they don’t seem to care about the voters that will be heading to the Veterans Memoral Hall on Tuesday. As a business owner with active clients, I understand that time constraints are a reality. I also understand setting priorities is critical, especially for busy people. It’s just too bad we haven’t had a chance to see all these candidates “in action” (unless you count the handing out of flyers at Farmer’s Market as seeing them “in action”). No wonder incumbents have an advantage: they are seen at every board meeting. Too bad the non-incumbents never got a chance to show their stuff to Cambrians in a forum.



Campaign Season Nearly Over – Election Less than a Week Away

If you are reading my election blog, you are probably already aware that next Tuesday is Election Day. During this last week, I’ll be ringing more doorbells of Cambrian voters to introduce myself and ask for their vote.  A large number of Cambrians (most of those who vote at the polls on election day) got my trifold brochure in the mail last week. If you haven’t seen this beautiful brochure, here it is:

(Click here to download) Amanda Rice Trifold Brochure.

Who Else Should I Vote For for CCSD?

This is a question I’ve been asked quite a few times since the mail in ballots arrive a few days ago. My answer: I am only voting for the candidates I want most to win. You are asked to vote for “up to three”. The winners will be the candidates that receive the highest vote totals. Bullet voting is deciding to vote for only one candidate, even though you have the opportunity to vote for more. By not casting the maximum number of votes, a voter helps his or her preferred candidate by not supplying votes to potential rivals.

 Why would anyone do this?  It really comes down to how you think the race is going.  If you have three favorites and believe they are going to easily win the  seats, then you should simply vote for them without reservation – forget about bullet voting, stop reading and eagerly await the next blog post.  :)
When one candidate seems highly likely to win (like a popular incumbent), that leaves two seats for the remaining candidates. Whether you vote for this candidate is up to you. If you believe that your favorite candidate, your first choice, is not going to win the most votes,  but stands a good chance of grabbing second  or third place, then yes, you should bullet vote for her.  Don’t risk elevating a potential rival.
Why?  Well, let’s say we have four candidates running for contested two seats:  Jim, Billy, Mary and Kerry. You can vote for two of the candidates to fill two seats.
Let’s say you are wild about Mary  and cast a vote for her.  You also kind of like Billy, so you vote for him as well.  Your neighbor doesn’t think much of Mary, so he votes for Jim and Billy.  The question is, did you weaken your support for Mary by voting for Billy as well?  Well, let’s see:  Between the two of you, the election stands at one vote for Mary, one vote for Jim, and two votes for Billy, who was no one’s first choice.  Great for Billy; not so good for your favorite, Mary or for Jim.
Does anyone do this?  Apparently.
 Let’s look at the 2010 CCSD election, where we got to vote for up to two candidates. There were 3,412 ballots,  so if everyone voted for two, there would be 6,824 possible votes for candidates.  Yet only 5,895  votes were, in fact, cast for a candidate.  Clearly a lot of people bullet voted, or perhaps they were unaware they could choose two candidates, or didn’t vote at all for CCSD.  Remember, the two candidates for the second seat were separated by less than 50 votes, and yet there were over 929 possible votes that weren’t cast.  These voters took the time to go to the polls and vote, and yet opted not to vote for all the candidates to which they were entitled. Looking at the 2008 CCSD election count, only 78 votes separated  third and fourth place. There were 11,766 total possible votes, but only 9,363 votes were cast. That means 2,403 possible votes weren’t cast.
To beat the point over the head, if candidates A B C D E are running for three seats, and my ideal result is A B C, but I prefer A so strongly that I’d prefer A D E to any result without A, then bullet- voting (“plumping”) for A makes strategic sense, even though it means withholding my votes from B and C, whom I would also like to see elected (along with A) if possible.
Of course, you should vote however you feel is right for you. If you are confident your favorite candidates will easily get more votes than the others, vote for three candidates. No matter how many you vote for, there will be three people seated in December. Just remember: if you cast a second or third vote for someone for whom you are lukewarm, you may be unwittingly giving someone else enough votes to place third and the seat on the board, and your favorite candidate will place fourth.
I hope that isn’t too long-winded of an answer. I’ve always preferred not to get in the way of how other people express their democratic muscle. This year is different, of course, since I am a candidate and the one asking for your vote. That’s about the shortest answer I can muster. I hope it was helpful, or at least clearly explained.
(This post is very similar to a post about bullet voting written by Joe Obermaier on I quite liberally edited and changed the relevant numbers to numbers relevant for Cambria. Joe wrote a pretty darn clear explanation.)