The Sacramento County Republican Party (SCPR) has completed their voter registration drive for the 2010 election cycle. The program featured the most generous bounty program I have ever seen in politics.
The program was actually run for the State Party by a consultant that worked thru the Committee to pass on the necessary funds to operate the program. The going rate per registration was about $15 each with both the consultant and SCPR getting a cut. Some local elected officials also contributed part of the funds.
The main purpose of the registration drive was to help targeted seats. The three main beneficiaries were to be Dan Lungren in Congressional District 3 and challengers to Assembly Districts 10 and 15—Jack Sieglock and Abram Wilson respectively. All three seats overlap each other and until the 2008 election were all in Republican hands. Only Lungren survived the wave that swept Barack Obama into office. The previous office holders of AD 10 & 15 left due to term limits and the GOP was unable to handoff the seats to fellow members of their Party.
The immediate result of the drive was 51,210 registrations. This sounds like an impressive number until you start digging into the results. Due to software issues and lack of early tracking, only 30,824 registrations could be tracked by district. Of these only 10,518 were in Lungren’s District. 6,410 of these were in AD 10. A token amount was in AD 15.
Per the report to the Committee, the Sacramento County portion of CD3 started with 130,272 Republicans in January and ended with 137,483; a net increase of 7,211.
Assembly District 10 saw Republicans in Sacramento beginning with 46,033 and ending with 49,256; a gain of 3,223.
In AD-15, Sacramento Republicans began with 22,017 and end with 23,143; a gain of 1,126.
If the 51,210 registrations were new Republican registrations and all increases were due to the voter registration drive then:
14 % were in CD-3
6% were in AD-10
2% were in AD-15
While this estimate does not take into account how many of the 51K were people that reregistered, I think it makes the point that the voter registration drive was not targeted and largely a waste of resources. A more targeted approach would have been more cost effective and yielded better results.
A new element was introduced as a result of the program that historically has been the purview of Democrats—voter fraud. The county clerk has received many reports of life-long Democrats that are learning that they are now registered Republican. The October 15th article in the Sacramento Bee was probably not the last that the Committee will hear about this issue. I expect the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) to be going after the SCRP or some of its venders following the election.