Auros (auros) wrote,

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Bay Area Democratic Straw Poll

On Sunday October 21st, from 2pm to 5pm, the San Mateo Democratic Party, under the leadership of my friend Andrew Byrnes, is going to be hosting its first-ever straw poll -- an event where people come to mingle, hear from the presidential candidates, possibly get a chance to ask questions of them directly, and, finally, vote on them. Straw polls are unscientific, but can reflect the regional popularity and organizing effectiveness of candidates.

We really want this event to be a success, to get an event going comparable to Iowa's straw poll. We want news stories about this, and we want candidates in future presidential elections to regard this as a major event. (Compare the success of Yearly Kos -- which will in future years be the "Netroots Nation" convention -- which in one year went from being regarded as a niche event, to an event which seven of eight candidates felt they needed to attend. Thanks in no small part, I should mention, to the early endorsement of two of my favorite ex-governors.) Having a high-profile regional or state-wide straw-poll would help make our voices heard more clearly in the primary process, in a way that even participation in the "super-duper Tuesday on steroids" will not (since that will be diluted by sharing with many other large states). The straw-poll offers the media a hook to talk specifically about Californian issues -- which often are issues that do matter to the nation at large. We are a significant percentage of the nation, and on demography, geography, and economics, we're an impressively representative sample of all that America has to offer.

So I hope you'll sign up, and I hope you'll consider doing so through my personal recruiting page. Just make sure to check off the box at the bottom confirming that I referred you! If you're interested in attending, and can't afford the $25 ticket price, please get in touch with me (leave a comment or email me), as I may have a few free or subsidized tickets available.

Important note: You do not have to be registered as a Democrat to participate! You don't even have to be currently registered to vote; as long as you are somebody who could conceivably vote in our primary (a US citizen and a resident of California) you are welcome! The California Democratic Party (notably unlike the CA GOP) welcomes voters who register their party as "Decline to State" to vote in our presidential primary. If you're registered as some other party, you can't vote in our primary, but given that the straw poll is months ahead of the deadline to re-register, we don't really care about that -- you can be a Republican, a Green, whatever.

Of course, if you're DTS (or some other party), there will probably be people there offering to re-register you as a Dem. Joining the party lets you actually vote for officials. If you're in AD21 (Redwood City and Palo Alto people, I'm looking at you) that would mean you can vote for me! Also, registering a party may help reduce the amount that various people try to contact you, compared to if you're a DTS voter (and hence seen as one of those precious "swing voters" that everybody desperately wants; the Republican party generally doesn't want to try to contact registered Dems; after all, that just reminds them that there's an election).

Also, those annoying calls you get during election season? If you give a firm yes/no about your vote, the only further call you should get from the same group is (if you said you're for them) a "Have you voted yet?" on election day, and if you can truthfully say "I did!" you'll get no more after that. (Also, if the registrars' records show that you're a solid voter -- that you turn out, every election -- you'll become less likely to get that "get out the vote" reminder call. And if you register absentee, you can mail in your ballot in advance, and then not need to get to the polls. Though you retain the option to drop off the absentee ballot, in its envelope, at any precinct in your county.) Of course, if we rewrote the McCain-Feingold anti-coordination provisions sanely, you wouldn't get so many calls from different groups; groups like the Sierra Club would be able to tell the Democratic Party, "We talked to Bob Smith and he says he's voting for your guy." Coordinating field strategy should be treated differently from coordinating media strategy.

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