I took some time out of my day today to go visit an SEIU polling place here in Elk Grove. I was mostly curious how they conducted the voting; especially, if they required a photo I.D.
I found three people sitting at a table in front of the AT&T store between Starbucks and GameStop Burger (Smash Burger has same color scheme as GameStop and they were there before Smash).
The table was covered with an SEIU table skirt. On top was a ballot box, two stacks of ballots with big boxes to check Yes or No, three stacks of envelopes—two white and one pink, a roll of stickers that said I voted, two lists of names, a clipboard, and some pens.
I observed on person vote. His eligibility was determined by typing his name into a cell phone. He was given a ballot, envelope, and pen. He marked the ballot and then was asked to complete the other side of the envelope before inserting it into the ballot box. On the envelope he had to have name, signature, and union number. The ballot was then placed in the envelope. Once the envelope was sealed it was placed in the ballot box.
As this person was finishing his vote, two other people tried to vote. The next potential voter was not verified with the cell phone but with one of two paper lists on the table. Her name was found on the first listed that was checked. After putting her cell number and email on the list, the poll worker checked the list again and then informed her that she was not a union member and needed to complete an application to join SEIU in order to vote. She commented that it was not clear from the union website that you must be a member to vote. She declined to join SEIU and then she and her companion (who was also hoping to vote) left.
The first guy that voted lingered at the table after his vote was cast and asked some questions of the union representatives working the table. In the course of the conversation, the SEIU rep that he was speaking with dropped a big bombshell. He was informed that it would be helpful for the SEIU if he would vote Yes on Prop 55.
Per the trusty voter guide from the Secretary of State, Prop 55 “Extends by twelve years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings over $250,000, with revenues allocated to K-12 schools, California Community Colleges, and, in certain years, healthcare.”
OK so where in that description is there any mention of exorbitant wage increases for non-essential government workers?
The only analysis that makes sense is that if this temporary tax goes away then the General Fund will have to pick up the slack meaning less money is available to give gifts to SEIU.
Lastly, I asked about the 3.5 percent for retiree healthcare that was mentioned on the SEIU website. I was told that current employees would have to start contributing 3.5 percent of their wages to a trust fund for retiree healthcare beginning January of 2017. Thus the pay increase offered by the state will not even allow SEIU employees to break even with what they are taking home now. This is likely the real reason for all the strike talk and saber rattling.
The ballots are supposed to be counted this weekend but the poll workers did not know when or where; however, they did claim that the vote counting would be open to the public.