City will fund campaign to get the vote out in 2008.
BY SONYA SMITH IRVINE WORLD NEWS
Next year will be filled with elections – the presidential primaries in February, the state primaries in June and the presidential, state and local elections in November.
And the City Council wants to start raising voting enthusiasm now.
The Irvine Democracy Project: Vote 2008 was approved by the council Tuesday with a 3-2 vote.
Mayor Beth Krom penned the one-sheet proposal, which says the city will work with other organizations to increase voter registration and turnout, and that the city will invite each announced presidential candidate to come and speak here. The council at the same time set aside $100,000 for the election program.
Krom said the city is distinguished in many areas – but not in voter turnout. She hopes the program will create enthusiasm for the elections.
Council members Choi and Shea agreed with the intent of Krom’s program – but both said the program lacked structure and could needlessly spend city money. Shea also attacked Krom’s idea of inviting “each announced presidential candidate in the 2008 race.”
Mainly, Shea and Choi wanted more structure to Krom’s program – which set aside $100,000 and directed the program with a one page memo.
The council led a similar effort in 2000 by Irvine, Mission Viejo, Dana Point and Laguna Hills. In that campaign, the cities hired public relations firm Forde and Mollrich to urge people to vote in the March and November elections.
The program was called into the court of appeals on allegations that it was a way of urging residents to vote against the airport plan for the El Toro Marine Corps air base. The voter campaign was upheld as legal.
More recently, Councilman Larry Agran brought forward a voter program in 2006 – eight weeks before the November elections. In that program the city manager and clerk will oversee the program – finding an independent contractor to compile a list of households likely to have unregistered voters. Then, three mailings were sent to those households with a non-partisan letter encouraging the residents to vote and two voter registration forms.