2012 Election Day Open Thread

Nov 6th, 2012 | Posted by

Today voters go to the polls across the country to decide a wide range of races that will have a big impact on the future of mass transit in California. High speed rail isn’t on the ballot, but many of the choices that are on the ballot will shape the future of that project and of connecting systems.

Polling Place

Election results for California can be viewed at the California Secretary of State’s site. There may be other sites that add results faster. Keep in mind that nothing in a California election is decided until Los Angeles County has reported, and they usually don’t come in until around midnight or 1AM. For some items on the ballot, we won’t know the results on Election Night, and will have to wait a few days as more ballots are counted.

Use this as an open thread for anything election-related.

Streetsblog also has a good overview of transportation-related election issues across the country.

  1. Derek
    Nov 6th, 2012 at 15:11

    It’s too bad that there can only be two viable candidates in the USA. Fixing that would also prevent the case where the President is elected with less than 50% of the votes, but you can be sure the big two political parties would fight such a change all the way.

  2. Nathanael
    Nov 6th, 2012 at 15:12

    Attempts at voter suppression currently ongoing and documented in Ohio (all manner of tricks, just like 2004), Pennsylvania (harassment, unlawful demands for ID, registered voters with registration cards being turned away because they “weren’t on the list”), and Florida (polling places without any blank ballots!). Also Milwaukee (deliberate gross undersupply of voting machines for busy precincts, which is also happening in the other mentioned states).

    Oh… just Google for more.

    Nobody should ever allow Republicans near power. Ever. You are very lucky to have Debra Bowen as California Secretary of State. (Well, not lucky really — you did vote her in!)

    Nathanael Reply:

    Some extremely amateurish attempts at voter suppression in California:

    Contrast the subtler methods of disenfranchisement in Ohio, designed to screw anyone who’s moved in the last several years:

    Jonathan Reply:

    Your comment made me realize a possible reason why Republicans are so energized about “voter fraud” and therefore pushing voter-ID laws: it’s not just to disenfranchise the young and the poor and the elderly. In other words, part of the reason Republicans clamor so much about “vote fraud” is that Republicans are already busily doing exactly that.

    (Never mind public comments by state governors that voter-ID laws might bring their state into Romney’s column…)

    James M. in Irvine Reply:

    Doesn’t that fall along the lines of “…it takes one to know one…”?


    Jonathan Reply:

    if there was any shred of evidence for significant voter fraud, maybe you’d be right.
    But there isn’t. If anything, the opposite. The Alameda County election official says that the few cases of multiple voting detected are overwhelmingly seniors who vote early, then forgot they did, and go to vote in person.

    If anything, it’s a case of “methinks the lady doth protest too much”.

    VBobier Reply:

    So far the only cases of voter fraud that I’ve read about recently are of a Repugnican poll worker getting caught altering 2 ballots, the former worker altered the ballot for Romney…

    Jordan DeStaebler Reply:

    Bingo and touche!

    Nathanael Reply:

    And the usual miscalibrated touchscreens:
    (Touchscreens should not be used in elections)

    Derek Reply:

    Touchscreens are fine, as long as there are procedures in place to make sure they’re calibrated.

    In any case, the UI needs to confirm the voter’s selections before submitting the electronic ballot, and it needs to be easy for the voter to change his/her selections.

    Nathanael Reply:

    No, they’re not. Even if they have a “voter verified paper audit trail”, stats show very few people check them. If they don’t have the paper trail, the touchscreens are completely unsafe because they’re prone to wholesale election fraud, or simple programming error (I’m a computer programmer. Ask any computer programmer.)

    The rate of calibration errors shows the likelihood of programming error.

    Derek Reply:

    I’m talking about confirming the voter’s selections before submitting the electronic ballot.

    It might also be good to randomize the locations of selection buttons on the screen, and do some statistical analysis to see if the person tended to use only a certain portion of the screen, which would indicate miscalibration.

    VBobier Reply:

    I read today that one machine, would pick Romney, even if one wanted to vote for Obama, crazy…

    joe Reply:

    Paper trail for the voter AND the machine with machine ID on the receipt.

    Then you have a specific voter record to tally and officials can collect check for anomalies.

    Fraud and errors don’t require the screen accurately reflect the recorded selection. There’s a defect in functionality so you cannot assume the screen is correctly displaying the vote. It maybe recording Obama and highlighting Romney.

    Loren Petrich Reply:

    You might want to research the sorts of regulation that computerized gambling machines are subjected to by various states, like Nevada. Talk about being hard-assed. But if it’s good enough for slot machines, then it’s good enough for voting machines.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They should import voting machines from India. They’re built to be as simple as possible, so that illiterate voters could use them, the famously corruption-prone process can’t hack them (they’re hard-coded – no software), and they can be used in villages without electricity.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Simple as possible, hard-coded, sturdy enough–sounds like a way to build a railroad.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    we had machines like that in New York for decades. They didn’t even have firmware. Didn’t use electricity either. Very hard to hack and very easy to detect. But HAVA made them illegal.

    Nathanael Reply:


    Some (not nearly all) of the mess in Florida.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This is the worst, though it’s probably an accident.


    Alon Levy Reply:

    They’re just overzealous about dead people voting…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Some, not all, of the criminal mischief in Pennsylvania:


    Nathanael Reply:

    OK, I’ll stop giving examples. But this is really bad. This is not how this country should operate. We should be waiting to see how many people CHOSE to vote for each candidate or ballot initiative — not how many people were PERMITTED to vote.

    Nathanael Reply:

    OK, one more: the mess in Colorado, where elections workers were not trained properly and were encouraged to chase voters away:


    The trouble isn’t all caused by Republicans. There are documented reports of similar trouble in parts of Philadelphia which are clearly run mainly by Democrats. However, in a lot of states where Republican state officials oversee the election systems, populous cities have their elections being run as disastrous messes which seem designed to drive away voters and prevent ballots from being counted. That’s not a coincidence.

    You remain blessed to have Debra Bowen in charge in California. Full disclosure, I donated to her campaign back in the day.

    VBobier Reply:

    Can you say 2nd Gilded Age? I hope that isn’t on the horizon…

    synonymouse Reply:

    The first Gilded Age ended with the Panic of 1892 and many reforms ensued. Some really needed and one really stupid – Prohibition

    But the Victorian buildings of the ’80’s are superb.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh dear. Poll list trouble in LA County (seems small scale so far).


    James M. in Irvine Reply:

    Hey, Nathanael, thanks for all the links! I hope it didn’t dissuade too many voters!


  3. joe
    Nov 6th, 2012 at 20:50

    Harry “Choo-Choo-Fanboy” Reid sez:


    In the wake of a very poor Republican showing in the Senate, and President Obama’s re-election, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling on the Senate GOP to drop its underlying strategy of obstructing the Democratic agenda.

    swing hanger Reply:

    “Happy Days Are Here Again”….Now, time to start smoothing the way for the bid process to begin, and getting investors on board.

  4. D. P. Lubic
    Nov 6th, 2012 at 22:35

    Well, Obama got in with a good, solid Electoral College count, but the popular vote–whooee, what a cliffhanger!


    If Florida goes to Obama as it seems to do, he’ll have a good, solid victory, but I think we can still count on trouble from the House of Representatives. Let’s hope the “pasting” the Republicans have been getting overall will lead to some more reasonable positions that aren’t so strongly just about getting rid of “that man in the White House.”

    Nathanael Reply:

    The popular vote numbers are being run (way) up as the West Coast / Hawaii numbers come in.

    We can still count on trouble from the House. I just hope the Senate has the sense to get rid of the “60 vote rule”. If the Senate goes back to majority rule, at least nominations can get confirmed promptly, which would really help the government function.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When Christie wins in ’16 and the Democrats get clobbered in ’18 because they’ll be defending 25 seats to the Republicans’ 8, you’ll either wish the filibuster had still existed or be glad it still does.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    His girthyness’ speech at the Republican National Convention was his swan song. Like other moderate Republicans he’s going to get the urge to spend more time with his family when he loses the 2013 election.

    VBobier Reply:

    Reid didn’t say He’d get rid of the filibuster, in fact He hasn’t said much of anything on this, yet. In any case the demographics are going against the Republican party, just as they have here in California, gerrymandering of districts won’t work for long, it will only put off the inevitable defeat of Republicans, 1st in 2014 and then in 2016, the white birthrate is the bell tolling, as it’s only 5.7%…

    StevieB Reply:

    Reid has said he wants to change the rules of filibuster but exactly how has yet to be worked out.

    “I think that the rules have been abused and that we’re going to work to change them,” Reid said. “We’re not going to do away with the filibuster, but we’re going to make the Senate a more meaningful place, we’re going to make it so that we can get things done.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83514_Page2.html#ixzz2BebYAmDI

  5. Alon Levy
    Nov 6th, 2012 at 23:56

    The effeminate-looking nerds have triumphed. George Will, Jennifer Rubin, and Jay Cost will not suffer any penalty for getting this completely wrong.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Just for fun:


    Karl Rove is particularly interesting; if the Republicans have any brains, they’ll kick him out on his ear.



    This guy got it even worse than Rove:


    The Repugnant Ones need to do better analysis and lose the cocky attitude they’ve had for way too long. They’ve done a wonderful job of turning me off to their positions, and I’m probably the most conservative person here.


    Nathanael Reply:

    There was an interesting analysis of Rove linked by Paul Krugman:




    If you don’t want to click through, the suggestion is that Rove’s job is basically getting billionaires to pay him, and he only cares about actually winning elections insofar as it keeps his paychecks rolling in.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Ho, ho, ho, from the comments section, good advice I think, and for a billionaire, a good life, too. . .

    “I have a dream that’s more like a prayer. My dream/prayer is that the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, and assorted billionaires who lack useful hobbies would take their money and go buy themselves somebody else’s country. Some place that resonates, like the Falkland Islands or Granada or the Cayman Islands. Take Grover Norquist with you, okay?

    “Life’s too short to be so angry all the time, you guys. You’re all old, white, and wealthy. You don’t have much time left! Relax and enjoy yourselves in your new tropical echo chamber. Play Monopoly with your moolah. Dress up like your favorite Fox News personality and entertain the hired help. Knit some afghans for the Afghans.

    “Just please, for the love of God, go away and leave the rest of us alone. Amen.”

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Another goody from comments following Krugman:

    “I contend that what we are witnessing is nothing less than a bubble in the wholesale purchase of political power. The wealthy are driving up the cost of any ever-scarcer commodity – namely, the good will, trust and faith of the vast majority of American voters. I suppose it escapes these bubble-meisters that when this one pops, we may see reforms that might make the trust-busting of a hundred years ago seem like a beginners exercise. While the bubble-meisters stood in their high-rise windows and pooh-poo’d the hoards squatting on the streets below, did any of them do some analysis on how many Americans each of those squatters actually represents or how absolutely disgusted they are of those looking down their noses at what amounts to – most of us. As they push the pendulum ever farther into scary and extreme territory, are they truly oblivious of the horror most Americans suffer over how they are decimating our wonderful and hard-earned political system. And so, whether they realize it or not (and it truly doesn’t matter), their “rigging the system” bubble will come back to haunt them by precipitating sweeping change. Let’s hope that our education system has not been so decimated by the foul fruit of these same people, that we are unable to avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water. But by God, this is one bubble that we have got to pop. Like all bubbles before, it’s not a matter of if, but when.”–Gerry (San Diego)

    “So, not only are the powerful fleecing the poor, the powerful are fleecing the powerful as well. Gotta love it when they start eating their own.

    “Citizens United turned into an opportunity for certain well-placed individuals to line their own pockets? Still self-interest, only not the self-interest that we were expecting. But this sounds no different than all of the other sorts of stuff that’s been going on in corporate, Wall Street and so on.”–“Liberal”

    “When the rich donors find out that they’ve been had, how fast will they suddenly fall in line behind a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen’s United?”

    Ho, ho, ho, couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch! Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!!

    joe Reply:

    I think the Wealthy were taken by professional GOP grifters. These guys like Rove are part con-men who collect funds, skim, run some dirty tricks and then repeat.

    Karl Rove’s Crossroads outfit is holding a phone call for its big donors Thursday to sum up the race, said Stan Hubbard, a Minnesota media mogul and mega-donor. “Obviously, somebody made a mistake and didn’t do things right. There’s no question about that,” he said.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83534.html#ixzz2Bbr6ZAip

    Nathanael Reply:

    “The Repugnant Ones need to do better analysis and lose the cocky attitude they’ve had for way too long. ”

    They can’t. Rejection of reality is now part of the required creed among the Republican Party. The hostility to science is part and parcel of that. That’s why I decided it was completely hopeless, and best eliminated as a political party ASAP.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I can see them circling the wagons even tighter and convincing themselves that they weren’t conservative enough. ( using their definition of conservative ) And going the way of the Whigs.

    swing hanger Reply:

    An idea: break up the GOP- reform an “original” conservative party one akin to the Eisenhower/Rockefeller wing being pro-business and moderate on social issues (i.e. sane and capable of being “big tent”), and spin off the tea party/religious right element and name it “National Front” or other suitable moniker.

    Andy M Reply:

    The problem with a two-party system is that it prevents the natural separation of unreconcilable political paradigms.

    joe Reply:

    Maybe. I watched Richard M. Nixon go to China and create the EPA as a cabinet position.

    The GOP is viable – it just needs new leadership and take on Murdoch’s Fox News whch can be very profitable selling crap-reality to 20-30% of the population.

    They came back from the brink after Roosevelt by adopting more centrists positions and locking up the racists and kooks. The 50’s GOP platform is to the left of Obama.

    GOP could have won the Senate if they had not nominated fringe nut-cases in safe pickups like MO and IN.

    South Carolina’s head-lunatic Senator DeMint ran the show and he literally threw away GOP Senator’s Committee Chairmenships.

    How fitting the First State of the Confederacy’s Senator was their undoing.

    Nathanael Reply:

    On the other hand, the Whigs drove themselves into oblivion. Duverger’s Law means that a second party promptly appeared (the Republicans). If the Republicans drive themselves into oblivion, there will be a new second party, preferably a sane one.

    I think that scenario is more likely right now than the Republicans recovering. The Republican Party is deeply resistant to reform now; Romney actually changed the rules at the RNC to PREVENT grassroots campaigners from changing anything, and that change is going to stick even though Romney lost the general election.

    I’ve been paying attention to the prominent Republicans who left because the party went nuts; it now includes Charlie Crist. I would say that they would form a new party, but in fact they fit quite well into the Democratic Party. Once the deranged remnants of the Republican Party are no longer a problem, I actually expect the left-wingers to leave the Democratic Party and form the second party. It could turn out another way of course.

    VBobier Reply:

    That’s possible, but short of a time machine, We’ll just have to wait & see how History plays out…

    Andy M. Reply:

    I wouldn’t say the GOP is resistant to reform and sense.

    I see parallels to the British Conservatives under Mrs Thatcher/ John Major.

    They were chased from power, having totally lost any sense of reality and fast retreating into an ivory tower in which somehow the truth was whatever they wanted it to be. The electorate had had enough and clearly showed them the door. At the time pundits were saying they would be gone for decades, if not forever.

    It turn out the guy who chased them out was pretty twisted too, and Mr Cameron used the discontent, skillfully sidetracked the idiots, encouraged and strengthened the reasonable members and was able to lead the party back to power.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Not that there’s much point in pointing out facts to Joe, but here we go:
    1. What Todd Akin said iabout no-abortion-even-in-case-of-rape s, in fact, a GOP party plank; and exactly the same views that Paul Ryan holds. Akin’s mistake was to _say_ it.
    2. What Richard Mourdock said about no-abortiion-even-in-caseof-rape is, in fact, a GOP party plank; and exactly the same views that Paul Ryan holds. Akin’s mistake was to _say_ it.

    See also the widespread GOP-sponsored bills which talk about “forcible rape”. They mean exactly the same thing as “legitimate rape”: a mainstream GOP view that most “rape” somehow isn’t really rape.
    These are not “fringe not-case” views, they are core GOP _policy planks_.

    Look for the rich-old-white-far-right-male crowd already saying that the reason Romney lost was because he wasn’t conservative _enough_.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    “Forcible rape” is a legal term in the US, which means “non-statutory rape.” If you rape an 19-year-old, that’s forcible rape. If you sleep with a 15-year-old, that’s statutory rape. The Congressional bill in question would’ve denied federal abortion funding in the latter case.

    joe Reply:

    Johnathan – I forgot the comment where I argued Akin was undone by a single comment or issue. He’s a nut case, dogmatic, undisciplined and backed by Senator DeMint.

    BTW, I flipped to Fox once NBC called the election and laughed my ass off at Rove’s melt down.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Aon, it’s not _quite_ that simple, as House Republicans like Ryan have been attempting to replace “rape” in bills with “forcible rape”, in, for example, H.R. 3. That would have resulted in a ban on using Federal dollars to fund abortions except in cases of forcible rape or incest. Uhh, so a 13-year-old or an intellectually handicapped person shouldn’t be eligible for an abortion, if they so choose?
    And of course, Akin clarified that when he said “legitimate rape” he really meant “forcible rape”…

    Joe: in point of fact you are WRONG. Mourdock’s and Akin’s position is a fairly well-established one wihtin Reubplican social-conservative circles. that’s just a fact. Neither one is a “nut-case”, they are simply naive enough to state their views bluntly.

    Nov 6th, 2012 at 23:58

    THIS is a bitter sweet victory..BIG O will do nothing with HSR funding..the same teabaggers run the House ..Shame on MS Pelosi and the rest of the House when we had it all .. They spit in Oberstars face …50 billion for HSR …Obama will just bitch fight for the next 4years..SAD

  7. Roger Christensen
    Nov 7th, 2012 at 01:08

    2 points shy. Measure J Los Angeles. 64.69% with 49% precincts reporting.

    joe Reply:

    Prop 30 with 94.7% reporting
    30 Temporary Taxes to Fund Education 4,861,793 54.0% 4,135,906 46.0%

    I guess CA loves HSR because CA voted for Prop 30.

  8. Alon Levy
    Nov 7th, 2012 at 04:59

    Prop 30 passed. Turns out HSR didn’t bring doom upon California’s budget.

    Peter Reply:

    Why did it take Democrats to realize they can still push tax measures through with relative ease by making them constitutional amendments?

    Peter Reply:

    *take Democrats so long

    Nathanael Reply:

    I’m not sure it was always true. Think you could have passed prop 30 in 1980?

    It can take a while to notice that the political climate has changed. And it takes a far-seeing man like Governor Brown to realize that “if referenda are the problem, referenda are the solution” and start submitting every budget to the voters.

    joe Reply:

    It took a super majority to pass a State budget until Prop 25 was passed in 2010. That too was screwed up so there wasn’t a clear way to present the budget problem to voters.

    Now a State Budget is a simple majority so the Gov has a fixed target, the state budget, and a case o make for cuts if it is not passed. No way in hell the GOP can undo the Budget or change the argument.

    joe Reply:

    Oh my.


    California Democrats appear to have picked up a supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature Tuesday night, a surprise outcome that gives the party the ability to unilaterally raise taxes and leaves Republicans essentially irrelevant in Sacramento.

    Time for a change in the CA GOP.

    The “Free Cadillacs for Welfare Recipients Party” will now be called the “Free Super-Train to No-where in the Central Valley Party”.

    Derek Reply:

    We need a party of true fiscal conservatives, one that doesn’t think it’s a good idea to give everybody welfare for their automobiles just because a few people need it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I’ve heard rumors that some centrist came up with proposals that would’ve balanced the budget in 1998-2000 if only the Democrats and Republicans hadn’t exploded the deficit. Any help?

    joe Reply:

    Q: During the Clinton administration was the federal budget balanced? Was the federal deficit erased?
    A: Yes to both questions, whether you count Social Security or not.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When I say “I’ve heard rumors,” I’m invariably sarcastic.

    Unfortunately, Poe’s law exists. I had to issue a clarification to an environmentalist that, when I talked about an organic machine that sequesters carbon and exhales oxygen, I was in fact talking about trees.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I think it was same centrists were projecting that the national debt, not the deficit, would be paid off in 2012 or so.

    Emma Reply:

    I wish they would use that opportunity to finally pass that single payer bill. There’s absolutely no excuse now.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, there’s still the federal law which prevents single-payer from being implemented until 2017. But yes, the legislature should go ahead and pass single-payer now. A worthwhile campaign.

    John Burrows Reply:

    And it passed even though voter turnout was very low compared with the last presidential election. Whatever the vote ends up being, it will be nowhere near the 2008 total of 13.5 million. Had voters been fired up like they were 4 years ago, Prop 30 would probably have passed by a considerably wider margin.

    When it comes to voter turn out, being a battleground state really helps. Florida with about 1/2 the population of California had a voter turnout of over 8 million. Looks like we will be around 9.5 million—slightly over 1/2 of the roughly 16 million votes it would take if we were to match Florida’s participation rate.

    joe Reply:

    FL is hotly contest so each side is spending millions to register, distribute absentee ballots and get people to the polls. Win by a small margin and you get all the electoral votes. Senate races are tight too.

    There’s less incentive to Get Out The CA Vote in this winner take all system. A GOTV effort will ultimately have little impact on the result and nationally is waste of resources for both sides.

    CA Senate races are not contested so no incentive for the Senate campaigns to do match FL’s GOTV.

    Until 2010 bi-partisan gerrymandering kept both Dem and GOP Reps in safe districts. Still little incentive to GOTV when each incumbent is safe.

    Only after districts were drawn without gerrymandering is there the opportunity and incentive to unseat incumbents in new Cong. Districts. We’ll see some effort to increase participation and go after incumbent representatives. They cannot be assured their districts will be shaped to protect them.

    That incentive to add voters and push participation will help progressive ballot initiatives.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    I’m curious as to why Florida doesn’t seem to have had its results made official yet. Oh, I know the result is very close, but you would think the tally would be clear by now, even with the close call.


    Of particular interest in that story is the Florida map by county. Looks a lot like the national one, the counties with sizable towns and cities are blue and small in area, the rural places are much larger and all red.

    This sounds an awful lot like the urban-vs.-rural conflict that seems to pervade current politics. How I wish we could listen to a speech from James J. Hill (Great Northern Railway president) in which he admonished that “The Farmer and the Townsman Must Be Friends.”

    Alan F Reply:

    The final results from Florida will likely take a month or more. The networks and pollsters waiting to call Florida are likely waiting on seeing numbers from initial counts of the absentee and provisional ballots that have to be processed. 100% of precincts reporting does not mean 100% of the votes have been counted.

    At this point, little to be gained by calling FL for Obama if it turns out Romney somehow manages to eek out a win in FL by the smallest of margins. The final national vote tally won’t be known until December when all the states turn in their final vote totals. But we know that Obama carried enough states by enough of a margin in the electoral college that he will taking the oath of office next January and not Romney.

    Eric M Reply:

    Because I believe if the vote is within one percent, state law mandates a recount

    Peter Reply:

    This is why Florida hasn’t been called yet, in conjunction with how close the race is.

    VBobier Reply:

    I believe the question “Who cares?” now applies, as it makes no difference now that Romney and all that KOCH money LOST

    Peter Reply:

    I hoped some of your vitriol would have evaporated after Obama winning, but you seem to be a sore winner, too.

    VBobier Reply:

    No I’m not sore, I was just pointing out the fact that a lot of money was spent by anonymous sources for Republicans & they still lost. Vigilance against lunatic conservatives is/was needed.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Don’t worry; the business interests won’t make the mistake of supporting the hapless GOP next time. They will have learned from California where the only way to influence is to support “moderate” Demos.

    Of course the most effective, time-honored way to get consideration from “liberals” to simply bribe. Expect a strong push by business to legalize straight-out payola to politicians. After all the unions are already doing it with the patronage machine. The corps have a lot more money, the mothers’ milk of politix.

    joe Reply:

    The purpose of a dysfunctional FL election system is to lose votes in minority areas and abuse the system in case of a close election. It’s a big vote swing state run by a partisan Gov.

  9. Judge Moonbox
    Nov 7th, 2012 at 09:04

    I’ve been thinking of the Washington Post and how they ran an editorial endorsing Obama that sounded like they were trying to hide an anti-Obama endorsement inside–that they were hoping for a “confirmation bias” to get people to see things the opposite of what it seemed.

    One of the chief points was that they brought up High Speed Rail as though it was a negative for Obama, and once again they misstated the demographics. Bakersfield is the 23rd busiest station in the Amtrak system, with half a million people getting on and off trains there. Not to disparage Bakersfield–I’m sure there are lots of attractions there–but they beat out San Jose, Anaheim, Oxnard, and even Fresno because of people driving an taking the bus from Southern Cali and Las Vegas. If all the HSR spending did was to cut one hour from the time to Fresno and points north, that figure will go up substantially.

    The same thing applies to Victorville. Although the Post bashed the high speed line to Vegas, sounding as though driving to Victorville put the service our of range, the Bakersfield numbers show that Victorville is an option for lots of potential train riders who want to go to Vegas.

    The Post seems to have a policy that anyone who writes about High Speed Rail in California must misstate the demographics. I’ve seen one letter supporting HSR, and the one other exception was George Will; and I suspect that his column is carried in the Fresno, Visalia, or Bakersfield papers, and they gave him a waiver because of that.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    Bakersfield is almost certainly affected by double counting from the bus bridge however, which is 200K riders.

    Alan F Reply:

    The Amtrak passenger counts for their stations are for rail boarding plus alightings only. In FY11, Bakersfield had 476,767 passengers get on or off the Amtrak trains. Pretty good numbers.

    thatbruce Reply:

    @Alan F:

    The stats available for FY2011 from the Amtrak website say that the counts are derived from tickets to or from the station for all Amtrak services, not just rail. If the passengers using the bus bridge are on separate tickets (train part, bus part, train part) as part of a single itinerary, they might end up being double counted as both Paul Druce and Judge Moonbox suggest.

    I haven’t found an Amtrak document describing the counting methodology for Bakersfield yet, but I haven’t looked very hard.

    Peter Reply:

    Aren’t passengers on Amtrak Thruway required to purchase their bus ticket as part of their train ticket? I seem to recall reading that here.

    francis Reply:

    Yes. In the past with paper tickets one got issued two separate tickets. For what it’s worth, going from LA to Fresno through Bakersfield counts as two segments when using the USA rail pass.

  10. Keith Saggers
    Nov 7th, 2012 at 15:32

    Congratulations America on your choice for President

  11. Roger Christensen
    Nov 8th, 2012 at 11:14

    Interesting side note on the failed at 64.7% Measure J:
    Even Nimby Beverly Hills with intense opposition from Beverly Hills Courier and BH School District, it carried 57% support.

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