Leland Yee has been arrested on a number of corruption charges and dropped out of the California Secretary of State race, but 323,000 people managed to do what is pictured here as of the most recent count of California’s primary election held on June 3, 2014. It was too late to remove his name from ballots by the time he dropped out, but Yee still managed to get 9.6% of the vote as of June 7. This article and others ask – why did that happen?
Some possibilities have been outlined by the Mercury News and SFGate articles:
1. Some people don’t believe the charges
2. Some voters didn’t know about the charges
3. Some voters have a perverse sense of humor, and don’t care about the office
I don’t think that #1 is a major cause, given people’s general distrust of politicians and Yee’s long history of suspicious behavior. I don’t think that #2 is accurate, given that as one analyst puts it regarding primary voters: “older, wealthier, whiter, more likely to be homeowners, more educated … and more ideological true believers.” That leaves #3, which seems to me much more likely. I have to admit that I found the fact that Yee was still on the ballot was funny in an ironic way, but not funny enough to actually vote for him.
California’s office of Secretary of State serves as the state’s Chief Elections Officer and implements electronic filing and Internet disclosure of campaign and lobbyist financial information, among other duties. The top two vote getters in the primary were Republican Pete Peterson and Democrat Alex Padilla. Under California’s open primary rules, they will face off in the November main election.