From the daily archives: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Voters whose signatures are on file with the California Department of Motor Vehicles can submit voter registration forms electronically.

California’s voters have until Oct. 22 to register for the November presidential election, and now it is easier to do so.

Voters whose signatures are already on file with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles can submit their voter registration forms to county elections offices electronically by visiting

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who authored the measure, said it comes in stark contrast to controversial voter ID laws in Pennsylvania and Ohio, among other states, that are aimed at reducing fraud, according to their proponents.

“This is an incredibly exciting day for California and for our democracy,” Yee said. “While some states are suppressing the rights of voters, here in California we are proudly increasing participation.”

Yee said the online registration system is an example of ways government can bring more voters to the polls, noting that just 44 percent of eligible California voters participated in the 2008 presidential race. He said 6 million eligible voters have not registered.

“As a model example of a democratic government, it is embarrassing that our voter participation rates are as low as they are,” Yee said. “We need to find new ways to increase voter participation and I am hopeful that making it easier to register will help get more people involved.”

Election officials say the plan will reduce costs and eliminate administrative errors. Arizona, which implemented a similar program five years ago, reports a decrease of up to 83 cents per registration, and a savings of more than $1 million alone in Maricopa County.

“Though most states still cannot offer online voter registration, I am thrilled to say the largest state in the nation is ready to roll. Today the Internet replaces the mailbox for thousands of Californians wanting to register to vote,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, California’s chief elections officer.

To register to vote, a Californian must complete a brief voter registration application on paper or online.

The last day to apply for a vote by mail ballot in California is Oct. 30, seven days before the Nov. 6 election.

“Online or on paper, California’s laws and procedures for processing voter registration applications are identical. Security is a critical part of elections, and I want to emphasize this online application is not ‘automatic registration.’ The information provided in an online application still must be verified by a county elections official before an applicant can be added to the voter rolls,” Bowen said.

Paper applications are still available at many government offices, DMV offices, post offices, public libraries, and more.

When a person registers online, the system will search the DMV database for the applicant’s California drivers license or identification card number, date of birth, and last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number.

If the information is found and the applicant authorizes elections officials’ use of the DMV signature, an electronic image of the DMV signature will be added to that voter registration application.

If there is no signature on file with DMV, all of the applicant’s information will still be transmitted to the county elections office; the applicant will just need to click “print,” then sign the paper application and mail it. (California law requires that the applicant sign the voter registration application, which is considered a legal affidavit.)

As always, county elections official will contact the applicant when the voter registration application is approved or when more information is needed to confirm eligibility.

Residents of California are eligible to vote if they are U.S. citizens; at least 18 years old by Election Day; not in prison or county jail (serving a state prison sentence or a term of more than one year in jail for a defined “low-level” felony) or on parole, post-release community supervision or post-sentencing probation for a felony conviction; and not judged by a court to be mentally incompetent.

A person must re-register to vote after moving, changing names or changing political party preference.


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•Get notified when an earthquake occurs; see the intensity impact to your area or those of loved-ones with notifications generated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
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•Find open Red Cross shelters in your area when you need help.
•Stay safe when the lights are out with the Toolkit, including a strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.
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•Earn badges that you can share with your friends and show off your hurricane knowledge with interactive quizzes.
•See an illustrated history of earthquakes in your area.
•Know how to what to do about food and drinking water when your area has been impacted by floods and power outages.



Singer Andy Williams died Tuesday night after a year-long fight with bladder cancer according to a representative from the public relations firm, The Shefrin Company.

The smooth-voiced crooner died at his home in Branson, Mo, after a year-long fight with bladder cancer.

This year, 2012, marked the singer’s 75th year in show business. Williams has been awarded 17 gold and three platinum records, and has won three Emmy Awards for his television work.

Born in Wall Lake, IA, Williams began singing with his three brothers as the Williams Brothers. The quartet performed on the radio in all over the Midwest, becoming regulars on the Iowa’s Barn Dance Show on WHO in Des Moines, IA.

The quartet also performed on WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati, catching the attention of Bing Crosby.

Thanks to Crosby, the Williams Brothers recorded their 1944 hit, Swinging on a Star.

After disbanding the group in 1951, Williams moved to New York and became a regular on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show.

Williams’ hit songs include Canadian Sunset, Butterfly, Lonely Street, The Village of St. Bernadette, and The Hawaiian Wedding Song – for which he received his first of five Grammy Award nominations.

From 1962 to 1971, Williams hosted the eponymous named variety show – The Andy Williams Show, which garnered three Emmy Awards for Best Variety Show.

Williams owned the Moon River Theatre in Branson, which was built in 1992, and named after his signature song Moon River – the Oscar winning song from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The singer’s first wife was Claudine Longet. A year after the couple divorced in 1975, Longet was accused of killing her boyfriend, alpine ski racer Spider Sabich in Aspen, CO. Williams was by Longet’s side during the trial.

Williams is survived by his wife Debbie, whom he married in 1991, and three children from his first marriage.


Justin Lofton’s No. 6 Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) Chevrolet will have a new look this weekend as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) takes on Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Lofton will have The Imperial Valley Full Plate Group as the primary sponsor on his Silverado as a group of business owners and neighbors from Southern California come together to sponsor the championship contender.

“I think it’s pretty cool when I can walk into a grocery store here in North Carolina and see a bag of onions that I know came from my home in the Imperial Valley,” commented Lofton. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to promote my home and all of the products that come from the Imperial Valley on my truck in Las Vegas.”

The business owners from the Imperial Valley of Southern California began looking for ways to promote their local goods and services. Realizing the national reach and fan power of NASCAR, the owners decided to form The Imperial Valley Full Plate Group and get involved in the sport by supporting their local NASCAR talent-Camping World Truck Series driver Justin Lofton. Several farmers, ranchers, electricians, bankers and car dealers began making donations and contributions to back Lofton’s race effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while also spreading the word of their products and services.

“It means a lot to me to have the support of my hometown,” Lofton continued. “We are going to have a lot of my neighbors join us as guests at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For many of them, it will be their first time at the track and I’m looking forward to introducing them to the Camping World Truck Series. We’re still in the fight for the championship with the No. 6 Imperial Valley Full Plate Chevrolet, and to know that I have my hometown and my ESR team standing behind me in that battle is a really cool feeling.”

Lofton will join his competitors from the NCWTS as they take on Las Vegas Motor Speedway this Friday, September 29th. Live coverage of the Smith’s 350 will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET on SPEED, MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, channel 90. Fans can visit,, or for the latest news and updates about Lofton and the No. 6 Imperial Valley Full Plate Chevrolet Silverado team.


Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the final parts of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights have been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

“California has been the epicenter of the foreclosure and mortgage crisis,” said Attorney General Harris. “The Homeowner Bill of Rights will provide basic fairness and transparency for homeowners, and improve the mortgage process for everyone.”

The Governor signed:

  • Senate Bill 1474 by Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, which gives the Attorney General’s office the ability to use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties.
  •  Assembly Bill 1950, by Assemblymember Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles, which extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes from one year to three years, giving the Department of Justice and local District Attorneys the time needed to investigate and prosecute complex mortgage fraud crimes.
  •  Assembly Bill 2610 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which requires purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply.

Previously signed into law were three other components of the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Assembly Bill 2314, by Assemblymember Wilmer Carter, D-Rialto, provides additional tools to local governments and receivers to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in neighborhoods.

Two additional bills, which came out of a two-house conference committee, provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.

All aspects of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights will take effect on January 1, 2013.

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