I usually try to maintain a fair level of awareness about what’s going on politically, but sometimes I miss a beat (or a slew of election mailers) and get caught unawares when my permanent vote-by-mail ballot shows up in the mailbox. I can be pretty handy with google when I need to be, though, so I don’t usually have a problem researching the issues, performing my civic duty, and getting my ballot out in the mail on time.
That happened to me again this week, as I received my ballot and had to scratch my head for a second, trying to figure out what needed voting on. I flipped through all of the paper (see pic by me), nearly messing the few lines that actually indicated what I should be voting on. As it turns out, there’s a runoff election for the community college district, as none of the candidates received a majority in the first go-round.
What initially struck me about this was simply the amount of wasted paper that went into the mailer ballot, and I started to feel a little guilty for opting for the permanent vote-by-mail status. But the more I thought about it, I began to think about the fact that there would be a lot of expense and wastefulness going into this runoff election regardless. So I went to The Google and started poking around, and came across this set of minutes from a 2009 special meeting of the CCD Board of Trustees, which basically says that they don’t want to waste money that can be spent on helping students holding unnecessary runoff elections in 2011. There was unanimity regarding seeking legislation to avoid the costly runoff for 2011, but apparently that legislation never came about. One of the expressed concerns about runoff elections, however, is that of low voter turnout, and so now I don’t feel as guilty about the vote-by-mail thing, as I’m probably more likely to vote than the average bear.
The one bit of good news I turned up in this brief exploration into the finer aspects of LACCD runoff elections is that those Angelenos living in the 36th Congressional District get to hold a single election to vote in the LACCD runoff and in the Congressional District special vacancy election. Lucky you!