Santa Cruz Good Times

Dec 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Paperless Progress

vote-smartElection season is looking a little greener this year
California has 17 million registered voters. All in all, the voting public of California cuts down about 60,000 trees every election season just so we can have our sample ballots (which some of us just toss in the recycling—or, worse, the trash). But there is a more eco-friendly option, or set of options, on the horizon locally.

Enter paperless sample ballots, the first of two tree-saving measures undertaken by the county. Until recently, California voting law required that a sample ballot be sent to every voter; with that law amended, voters can now request that an e-ballot be sent to their email address in place of a physical pamphlet dropped into their mailbox.

This is the first year that the option has been in place, so there are not yet statistics on how many people have chosen to opt out of physical ballots. However, it won’t take many to save a lot of trees.
“Right now we’re sending ballots to 145,696 voters,” says Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin. “Obviously, if we can get even 10 percent [of Santa Cruz voters] to opt out of physical ballots, we’re going to save 10 percent more paper.”

And there’s a second option as well. For those tethered to their smartphones, Android and iPhone users will be able to download a voting guide app for Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Shasta counties.
The app does a few things. First, you can request the aforementioned paperless sample ballot through the app itself. Second, and more importantly, the app has information on local, state and federal candidates, and also includes information on measures and propositions.

It also allows you to check your candidate and proposition preferences, which you can save in the app beforehand. Now you can whip out your phone in the voting booth and remind yourself of the choices you’ve made—you’re saving time and you’re saving trees.

Created in partnership with Dr. Elizabeth Bergman, professor of political science at California State University East Bay, the nonpartisan app was developed by Atwoodz Inc., and uses information only from state and federal agencies. The app can be found by searching for “Santa Cruz Voter Guide” on either the Apple App store (for iPhone users) or Google Play (for Android users).

“People like getting their information online,” says Pellerin. “A lot of people are using our website for a lot of resources.”

Both the app and the online sample ballot use no paper. If their use becomes widespread, that’s a big step up from losing 60,000 trees per election season.

To opt out of paper ballots, go to

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location