Tag Archives: YPM

DiFi’s High Unfavorables Among 2010 Dem Candidates

The latest Field Poll is out (SF Chronicle here and Field PDF here) and it shows the favorability ratings of various leading contenders for 2010 gubernatorial race in both parties. And while the Chronicle wants to make this an “omg DiFi is the favorite” and “ha ha – Newsom sucks” story, the two most important things the poll actually tells us are:

1. DiFi has very high unfavorability ratings among Democratic contenders, and

2. Nobody – and I mean nobody – knows a thing about the Yacht Party potentials, except that they don’t like them.

Let’s take this in order. First, the Dems:

Name Favorable Unfavorable No opinion
Dianne Feinstein 50% 39% 11%
Jerry Brown 34 34 32
Antonio Villaraigosa 28 33 39
John Garamendi 27 20 53
Gavin Newsom 25 41 34
Jack O’Connell 10 16 74

Among Dems only Gavin Newsom has higher unfavorables, but not by much, and since this poll was taken right before the election – when Newsom was getting pounded in the press and on the airwaves by the Yes on 8 campaign – this may be a low point for Newsom.

That makes the 39% unfavorable figure for Feinstein rather significant. Sure, she has the highest favorable rating – 50% – of anyone in the field regardless of party, but that’s not a great figure for such an established politician. As we’ve noted before, her numbers among Dems aren’t so hot either. I don’t see much basis for a DiFi inevitability argument, which the Chronicle is trying to get started.

Jerry Brown has a lot of room to grow, since much of that 32% “no opinion” are probably younger Californians who (like me) were born late in or after his previous terms as governor.

Antonio Villaraigosa has to be considered a sleeper here. At 39% “no opinion” that gives him room to grow as well. He has been building a solidly progressive reputation over the last year, coming out strong against Prop 8 and leading the fight for mass transit in LA (seriously, getting to 2/3 with a sales tax for rail in LA County is a major achievement). As Brian noted a few weeks ago, his endorsements were the closest match to our own. He is also making a high profile link with Barack Obama, serving on his economic advisory team. If you want to run for governor, it is a damn smart move to link yourself to a popular president who won CA by 24 points.

And what of the Yacht Party contenders? They have Bill Simon written all over them:

Name Favorable Unfavorable No opinion
Meg Whitman 17% 16% 67%
Tom Campbell 14 13 73
Steve Poizner 10 14 76

Even with enormous unknown ratings, none of them have a net favorability rating outside the margin of error, and Steve Poizner already has a significant unfavorability rating that will only grow once his links to voter registration fraud get a wider airing. The Chronicle article promotes Meg Whitman as a breakout star, but I’m not seeing it here. All California voters will need to hear is that she’s a Republican and that she was an advisor to the McCain campaign and that may be enough to torpedo her.

The only Republican who might have a snowball’s chance is Tom Campbell, the moderate Republican, but he didn’t fare well in a statewide race in 2000 (losing to DiFi). Of course it’s highly unlikely that the “down with the ship” Yacht Party primary voters will vote for a moderate like Campbell.

This goes to show that the 2010 governor’s race may well be decided in the June primary, which should be one of the most interesting primary fights we’ve seen in this state in a long, long, LONG time.

Torres: “This is about voter suppression.”

I just jumped off a conference call with some members of the Democratic National Committee and CDP Chair Art Torres about the arrest of YPM founder Marc Jacoby on suspicion of voter registration fraud.  As you may know, Jacoby’s firm has been “slamming” voters in the Riverside County area, telling them that they were signing ballot initiatives but actually flipping their party affiliation to the Republican Party from the Democratic Party.  While the substance of the call was to talk about hypocrisy in the GOP, raising the issue of ACORN in recent weeks while blinded to the fraud their own vendors participate in, Torres was pretty unsparing in his description of YPM.  “The California GOP and the RNC need to terminate their relationship with YPM immediately,” said Torres.  “They shouldn’t wait for a conviction to distance themselves from these shady practices.”  It was revealed yesterday that a joint finance committee of the RNC, McCain-Palin and the Yacht Party has been paying Nathan Sproul, who owns a separate voter registration group that has been accused of rampant fraud.  Said Torres, “This is a consistent pattern of bad behavior.”

Curiously, nobody seems to be talking about the bigger issue here, which is the fact that YPM was not only slamming voters, but changing their ballot status to absentee, so that when a voter goes to the polling place on Election Day, they are told that they signed up to vote by mail and cannot vote in the election without their absentee ballot.  There are issues with slamming, related mainly to GOTV efforts (Democrats don’t try to turn out Republicans), but the absentee situation is a pretext for real disenfranchisement.  So I asked Chairman Torres about this, and he agreed.  “This is designed to create confusion at the polls and force people into filling out provisional ballots.  There are still hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots that haven’t been counted from Ohio in 2004.  This is about voter suppression, and we’ve seen it over and over again in California.”  He related it to the Dirty Tricks Initiative and the signature gathering fraud used to try and get that on the ballot.

The question, of course, is what we can do about the particular voters affected.  YPM is out of business and hopefully their founder will be in jail.  But there is no telling how many voters had their party ID switched or their ballot status switched.  Hopefully the Secretary of State can come up with some way to verify anyone who passed through YPM’s hands.

We Need To Get Debra Bowen’s Back – Again

Over the weekend, we learned about YPM, the voter registration company hired by the state Republican Party which was illegally switching voters’ party affiliations under false pretenses, and (this is the buried lede) changing their ballot status in a clear act of voter suppression:

Those who were formerly Democrats may stop receiving phone calls and literature from that party, perhaps affecting its get-out-the-vote efforts. They also will be given only a Republican ballot in the next primary election if they do not switch their registration back before then.

Some also report having their registration status changed to absentee without their permission; if they show up at the polls without a ballot they may be unable to vote.

Robert Cruickshank mentioned that the head of YPM has been arrested in this case and charged with voter registration fraud.  In response, the Yacht Party has decided to attack Debra Bowen:

On the eve of California’s voter registration deadline, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has decided to once again show her partisan colors and charge an individual for questions surrounding his own, personal voter registration stemming from 2006 and 2007.  

The fact that these charges are being leveled against an individual operating in a highly-contested area of California, and the significant gap between recent allegations and the charges we’ve seen today suggests that this is politically motivated.

It’s clear that Bowen, herself the recipient of an ACORN endorsement (still displayed on her campaign website), has elevated these issues to achieve maximum political benefit and deflect attention from the Democratic Presidential nominee’s high-profiled problems and associations with the radical community activist group ACORN.

While we condemn voter fraud in all forms, it is evident that Debra Bowen is using her office to play politics with the public’s perception of political parties.  This is inappropriate at least, and an abuse of her office and a willing suspension of her duties at worst.

Now, let’s make clear that in the original article, YPM founder Marc Jacoby cited Bowen’s work – falsely – to prove his own innocence:

He also said that plainclothes investigators for Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat, have conducted multiple spot checks and told his firm it is doing nothing improper.

“Every time, they gave us a thumbs-up,” Jacoby said. “People are not being tricked.”

But Nicole Winger, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, said the agency “does not give an OK or seal of approval to voter registration groups.”

That’s an out-and-out lie, and it’s completely within the purview of the Secretary of State to enforce the laws regarding voter registration.  The Yacht Party is being completely disingenuous about Jacoby’s illegality here (“personal voter registration” my ass), and they dredge up ACORN, which is not only unrelated to the YPM case, but a situation where paid registration gatherers were defrauding ACORN more than anything else.  But it’s not surprising to see the Yacht Party fan the fires of hate and use the ACORN scapegoat to answer for their own illegal activities.

And this is Yacht Party illegality.  Steve Poizner paid for the YPM voter drive and put a bounty on new registrations.

This story is starting to hit traditional media.  Debra Bowen did nothing but her job, and she needs to be supported.  Whether you write a letter to the editor, call the Yacht Party offices (hey, here’s contact information, imagine that) or just spread the word to your friends and neighbors, do something to call out Republican voter suppression today.

Arrest Made in Widening GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal

Mark Jacoby, head of the firm Young Political Majors that has been implicated in the growing scandal over Republican fraud in voter registrations. The Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit led the inquiry that resulted in the arrest and had this to say in an emailed press release:

The owner of a signature-gathering firm that works across California was arrested in Ontario today on suspicion of committing voter registration fraud, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced.

Mark Anthony Jacoby, who owns the firm known as Young Political Majors (YPM), was arrested after allegedly registering himself to vote, once in 2006 and again in 2007, at an address where did not live.  An investigation by the Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit revealed that Jacoby twice registered to vote at the address of a childhood home in Los Angeles although he no longer lived there….

“Voter registration fraud is a serious issue, which is why I vigorously investigate all allegations of elections fraud,” said Secretary Bowen, California’s chief elections officer.  “Where there’s a case to be made, I will forward it to law enforcement for criminal prosecution.”

This arrest comes on the heels of recent media coverage of YPM’s fraudulent tactics sometimes known as “slamming” – where voters are duped into changing their party registrations, or where their registration is simply changed by YPM without the voter’s knowledge:

The Times randomly interviewed 46 of the hundreds of voters whose election records show they were recently re-registered as Republicans by YPM, and 37 of them — more than 80% — said that they were misled into making the change or that it was done without their knowledge.

Jacoby’s arrest does not stem from those specific charges, which are still under investigation, but the fact that Jacoby himself was fraudulently registered is damning.

It should also lead us to ask why Steve Poizner is funding YPM’s efforts.

But then that’s the modern Republican Party for you – making baseless charges against someone else (i.e. ACORN) to hide their own criminal behavior.

CDP To Poizner: Stop Funding Voter Registration Fraud

(The man who would be Governor… – promoted by jsw)

Title updated.

When Republican State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced with California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring on August 28, 2008 that he would contribute enough money to pay $5 for every new Republican voter registration, no one expected a voter registration card “slamming” program.  

In San Bernardino County the California Republican Party with their local Republican affiliates hired a firm from outside California called YPM – Young Political Majors, owned by a man named Mark Jacoby and run out of Florida and Arizona – to commit the same voter fraud that got YPM run out of other states.

(more on the flip)

Moreover, this isn’t something new. YPM has a bad track record stretching back years and years.  For example, the following story comes from an article written in 2004:

Young Political Majors LLC, or YPM, is a company registered by Mark Jacoby at a Town ‘N Country residence.

Jacoby appeared this summer at the election office in Gainesville with a box of about 1,200 voter registration cards. Of those, about 510 voters had switched to the GOP.

Elections Supervisor Beverly Hill spoke with Jacoby and grew suspicious. She randomly called the Republicans to verify they wanted to switch. All of them said, “Absolutely not,” Hill said. “They didn’t even know they had signed a registration form,” Hill said.

Here’s how YPM does it: their paid signature gatherers ask registered Democratic voters to sign a claimed legitimate petition (in this case a petition to “stop sexual predators from getting out of jail”). Then, depending on the circumstances, they tell the voter that the petition is not legal unless they re-register as a Republican, or they have the voter sign in two places – one of which is the bottom of a Republican voter registration card.

It is simply unacceptable for this type of activity to go on here in California.

“This insidious and fraudulent practice is called ‘slamming,’ and Insurance Commissioner Poizner must put an immediate stop to funding this conspiracy to commit fraud,” said Senator Art Torres (Ret.), Chairman of the California Democratic Party (see letter below letter).      

The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, Kari Verjil, has allowed the slamming to continue for weeks.  The California Democratic Party is calling on the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office, the Secretary of State and the State Attorney General’s office to investigate and prosecute those who are knowingly committing fraud.  

The same situation is known to have occurred in Riverside County. This past August the Registrar of Voters, Barbara Dunmore, referred that fraud to the Riverside County District Attorney.

American voters should not be treated this way.

* * *

Here is a copy of the letter Chairman Art Torres sent to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.

September 16, 2008

Via Facsimile (909) 387-2022

Ms. Kari Verjil        

San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters

Dear Registrar of Voters Verjil:

Our offices have received numerous calls about the California Republican Party’s use of “slamming” — illegally re-registering Democrats as Republicans — in your county.

I would like to know the status of your investigation of the Republican slamming.  A few thousand voter registration cards are being turned in each week to your office and it appears your office has not stopped this fraudulent practice.  

In calls to a random sampling of 100 of these voters, we found one-third of the phone numbers were either disconnected or the wrong number.

When phone slamming happened several years ago, the federal government, as well as state and local officials put a stop to it.  

You must stop this illegal practice whereby American citizens who have registered as Democrats, whether earlier this year or several years ago, are being changed to Republicans with your county voter registration cards by organizations authorized by you to do voter registration.


Senator Art Torres (Ret.)

Chairman of the California Democratic Party

cc: Secretary of State Debra Bowen

    Attorney General Jerry Brown

    San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos