This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at IBAbuzz.com/politics.
About 110,000 Californians registered to vote online during the first week they could.
The state's online voter registration system went live last Wednesday as a result of SB397 by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, which was signed into law last October by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen said today she's "thrilled to see the high volume," but it's part of the usual presidential-year deluge. "At this time four years ago, we received as many as 191,000 paper registration applications in a single week just at the secretary of state's office -- that's not counting the 58 county offices," she said.
Still, Yee said in a news release today that he's "ecstatic with the popularity of this new voter registration system."
"It is a game changer for our democracy," he said. "While some states are suppressing the rights of voters, here in California we are significantly increasing participation."
A slew of Republican-dominated states have enacted voter ID laws in recent years. Supporters say they're meant to reduce the chance of in-person voting fraud, although there are extremely few documented cases of such fraud; critics say they're meant to disenfranchise poor, disabled, minority and other voters who are likely to vote Democratic.
Yee said California's new law already is saving county election offices thousands of dollars: "Election clerks do not have to spend as much time and money entering data from paper registrations, which also results in fewer administrative errors."
The new system lets citizens whose signature is already on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles submit their voter registration form to their county elections office electronically.
Only 59 percent of eligible California citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election. Even now, more than 6.5 million Californians are eligible to vote but remain unregistered.
The deadline to register to vote in this November's election is Monday, Oct. 22.
The state voter registration application is online at registertovote.ca.gov.
The "Yes on Proposition 39" campaign sort of declared victory today, announcing it would pull its television and radio ads after hearing that the companies once opposing the measure will do so no longer.
Proposition 39 would close a loophole for multistate companies, requiring them to pay taxes based on sales in California rather than allowing them to choose how they are taxed. The state would realize about $1 billion more per year in revenue if the measure passes. Thomas Steyer, founder and co-senior managing partner of Farallon Capital Management, has put up $21.9 million to bankroll the measure.
And it looks as if it worked. The committee backing Proposition 39 today said it has been informed by General Motors, International Paper and Kimberly-Clark that they won't oppose the measure any further. Chrysler and Procter & Gamble, the two other companies that once were part of a coalition opposed to closing the loophole, also recently stated that they would not oppose Proposition 39.
The California Business Roundtable tracking poll's latest numbers show Proposition 39 now has 63.1 percent support, its highest level in two months.