Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Why don’t Californians vote?

"I Voted" stickers sit next to the ballot box at the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters office on Monday May 15, 2006.
"I Voted" stickers sit next to the ballot box at the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters office on Monday May 15, 2006. Sacramento Bee

Living and working in the Sacramento bubble can blind you to a truism of California politics: even with all the minds and money put to work on campaigns, much of the electorate doesn’t show up.

You probably already know that this year’s primary registered the lowest-ever turnout for a statewide election. How did that happen? Will the November elections for which so many Sacramento denizens are feverishly preparing be any better, particularly in the era when many voters won’t see a candidate sharing their party affiliation?

California civics wonk Mindy Romero of the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis will be addressing those questions during a noon talk today. The focus of Romero’s address will be how changing demographics – those same trends credited with reshaping the composition of the Legislature – are fueling diminished voter turnout and could predict the outcome in November. She’ll be talking from noon to 1:30 at the UC Center, 1130 K Street.

VIDEO: The consequences of those single-party races enabled by new top-two primaries won’t be understood for years, Dan Walters says.

DRINK UP: Before lawmakers celebrated passing a water bond with money for potable water, California faced federal scrutiny for a huge lag in distributing money from a special drinking water account. An event today will offer more information on getting clean drinking water money from the revolving fund. The daylong workshop is cohosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and by the State Water Resources Control Board, which took over the fund from the Department of Public Health amid criticism of how DPH was running things.

MEDI-CALIBRATE: With the federal healthcare overhaul bringing a surge of low-income Californians under the Medi-Cal umbrella, there has been plenty of discussion about guaranteeing the newly insured are able to get medical attention. A California Healthcare Foundation talk today will take a look at how we’re doing in areas from access to physicians to how California compares to the nation. Featuring California Department of Health Care Services director Toby Douglas, the event starts at noon at the California Chamber of Commerce, 1215 K Street.

MONEY TRAIL: The California Fair Political Practices Commission is set to approve penalties today for what the campaign finance watchdog calls cases of money laundering. According to the FPPC, some Republican county committees were used to improperly funnel money to candidates – you can read more about it here.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.