California’s direct deposit democracy

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Double take

Donald Trump has said a lot of wildly inaccurate things during campaign rallies, so you have to be skeptical about his claims.

But what he told supporters in Wisconsin on Tuesday is actually true: It is one of a handful of states where voters can change their early or mail-in votes. There are restrictions and there are deadlines to switch, but it is possible.

Trump is hoping that some people who voted for Hillary Clinton are having second thoughts with the revelations that the FBI is looking at more emails that may be relevant to its investigation of the private server Clinton used while secretary of state.

Besides Wisconsin, voting laws in the hotly contested states of Michigan and Pennsylvania allow early votes to be changed in some cases. While it isn’t likely, if a state is really close, do-over votes could make a difference. At the least, they could add to complications and possible controversy on Election Day.

In case you were wondering, changes to mail-in ballots are definitely not allowed in California, where more than 2 million have already been received and where the mail-in percentage is expected to be higher than the 51 percent in the 2012 presidential election. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Take a number: $126.9 million

In October, no less than $126.9 million was raised and contributed to various campaigns in California, $4.1 million per day. There’s some double counting in that total. Donors launder, er, donate to parties, which funnel it to candidates. Nearly half, $57.9 million, came in 26 donations of $1 million or more, and 208 were in increments of $100,000 or more, accounting for $100.7 million. Virtually all the really big money flowed into the “yes” and “no” sides of ballot measures. At the turn of the 20th century, Hiram Johnson called it direct democracy. It’s now direct deposit democracy.

Our take

Shawn Hubler: Here at the end of a campaign that has made “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” look like a rom-com, at least one election year dynamic has been stripped to its raw essentials. If only men voted, polls consistently show, Donald Trump would glide to the White House. I’d blame sexism, partly or even mostly, but I think it goes even deeper.

Editorial: San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera deserves credit for raising the issue of money bail for poor people. Courts ultimately will decide the constitutionality of California’s bail law. But the Legislature needs to strike a better balance in ensuring that the justice system doesn’t discriminate against poor people while keeping truly dangerous people locked up.

Editorial: With dozens of homeless people using the toilets on the trailer every day, the River District isn’t nearly as disgusting as it used to be. And yet, the Pit Stop program is in danger of being cut. Alleys, bushes can’t keep being toilets for homeless people.

State NAACP President Alice Huffman and state Assemblyman Jim Cooper debate whether Proposition 64 is the right way for California to legalize recreational marijuana.

Huffman: Californians have a chance to tax and regulate a huge pot industry and to reduce racism in criminal justice.

Cooper: Legalization proponents had a chance to put up a better, smarter ballot measure. They failed.

The pro and con arguments for the 16 other statewide ballot measures are available.

Joe Mathews: California ignores Dean Cortopassi and lessons from Stockton at its peril.

Sunday preview

Jay Lund: Lessons we should learn from the drought.

Timothy Quinn: Californians move beyond drastic water conservation measures to more sustainable practices.

Michael Vitiello: Proposition 57 is a step toward reforming state’s broken criminal justice sentencing system.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is right: Cash bail can’t be defended.

L.A. Times: Using political flacks as news analysts erodes faith in journalism. TV directors: Build that wall. We agree.

San Diego Union Tribune: California has a chance to establish itself as global ground zero for one of the biggest industries of the 21st century. It should leap at the opportunity, not push it away.

Raleigh News & Observer, North Carolina: Watch the watchers at the polls on Election Day. Given Donald Trump’s wild, angry and now off-the-rails campaign, one in which he has abandoned all rules of civility, it’s fair to worry that some of his supporters might try to question other voters or intimidate them.

The State, Charleston, S.C.: In this era of voter discontent, Americans want change. But we must consider carefully what will change and who will lead it. Of the two candidates, the choice is clear. Hillary Clinton’s experience, stability and knowledge make her more likely than Donald Trump to effectively tackle the nation’s problems.

David Frum, The Atlantic: Why vote Hillary Clinton if you oppose her policies? Do it for the republic and the Constitution.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: The latest from Donald Trump’s conspiracy factory.

Debra J. Saunders: The early voter gets remorse.

Thomas L. Friedman: Donald Trump voters, just hear me out.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Outsiderism’s mysterious ways.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: What happens when white men are scared.


There have been a number of casualties in this presidential campaign year, but the greatest tragedy has been the loss of faith in the integrity our democratic system. – Eugene King, Sacramento

Tweet of the day

“Hillary is running for president against Putin and the FBI. Talk about dancing backwards and in heels. (Russian trolls, google Ginger Rogers)” – Andrea Chalupa, @AndreaChalupa

And finally,

Dr. Ralph de Vere White, the recently retired director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, will join me in a conversation about the future of cancer research and treatment starting at 6 p.m. this evening, at The Bee, 21st & Q. Come on by.