Happy Election Day, California

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Does your mailman seem drunk with power?

He or she should be.

California elections have gone postal. Which is why I can say to all Californians today:

Happy Election Day.

What? Did you think Election Day was June 8? Think again.

Election Day isn't a day anymore. It's a month. And that month-long Election Day starts Monday.

How's that? As the Mercury News explains here, California has been changing the way it holds elections, moving over the last generation from a system based on people going to the polls to a system based on people voting by mail. Two-thirds or more of those voting this year may vote by mail. And county election officials send out mail ballots beginning Monday. Citizens can start voting as soon as they receive those ballots.

What does this mean? Most political consultants say having a longer election day costs more money. Campaigns have to spread their ads and mailings over a longer period of time. And when campaigns cost more money, fewer people can run successfully. Which is why the three candidates for governor include two hyper-wealthy Silicon Valley business types -- Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman. Not only do you need money to buy TV ad time. You need money to buy more of it.

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