Political Notebook

SLO County

Legislation ensuring that absentee ballots cast late in an election by military personnel serving overseas will arrive in time to be counted has been signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Language from the Military Voting Protection Act guaranteeing the protection was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, according to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield.

McCarthy represents the North County and parts of Arroyo Grande and Nipomo in Congress, and he sponsored the legislation.

He said service members abroad who complete their absentee ballots at least seven days before a general election will know that their vote will be received in time to be counted by election officials.

Previously, he said, troops serving abroad were told that they needed to complete and send their ballots as much as 28 days before Election Day to ensure they were counted.

McCarthy called 28 days “far too long, especially in an age of global and expedited delivery of mail.” He said that those implementing the reforms will utilize expedited shipping and tracking of ballots.

McCarthy called the bill “a strong step forward.”

— Bob Cuddy

Santa Maria

We the People, a conservative group that says President Barack Obama is leading the United States into a “socialist world government,” has scheduled a “freedom rally” from 11 a.m. to noon Nov. 14 on the sidewalk in front of Home Depot, off Bradley and Betteravia roads in Santa Maria.

A “meet and greet’ lunch will follow at Pappy’s Restaurant, across the freeway at 1275 E. Betteravia.

In an announcement of the rally, Diane Howes of Orcutt said We the People is building a Central Coast grassroots network “to stop the insane direction of the Obama administration.”

— Bob Cuddy