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638 people made the decision for thousands

It's fascinating, but mostly depressing, that after all the hoopla surrounding the elections — all the debates, the blog posts, the tempers, the campaign signs, the discussion and analysis of all these important issues — that just 14.5% of the registered voters actually made a choice.

In the Granada Sanitary District race — one that will have implications about a possible new parks district, the Big Wave development, water quality, pollution etc. — 3,748 people out of the 4,368 who had the right to vote, chose not do so. In fact, on election day, less than 100 people actually showed up to the polls in that district. (sure makes for a boring day for the poor volunteers.)

The other 3 races fared only slightly better with the MWSD election leading the way with whopping 20% turnout.

How do we interpret that? Is it that most people think things are just fine, so why bother? Is it because people are jaded about politics in general? Is it because they think their vote doesn't really matter? (when in reality 4 votes would have changed the make-up of the GSD board).

My guess is that it is because our sewers, garbage collection, and water delivery all work reasonably well. Get rid of our waste, give us clean water, don't make it cost a lot. Keep the details, we've got work to go to and families to feed. Maybe its hard to blame the no shows.

I don't know how much it costs to hold an election, but boy, those 638 people who cast a ballot sure got their money's worth.


Comments

You're right, Bill; voter turnout for SMC 11/05 election was a paltry 20.3%. Put bluntly - that absolutely sucks. What makes it even worse, and yes it can be and was worse, is that only approximately 1/2 of the population is even registered to vote. That means that 1 in 10 made decisions for all. I mean, c'mon - sup with that? And of course one has to wonder who does all the complaining? voters or non-voters?

Some use the excuse that voter registration leads to jury duty (and we all love jury duty) and it can; but DMV is also a source for jury duty, so that dog don't hunt.

So, when one strips away all the 'stuff', we see that 1 in 5 voted, and that's only 1/2 the population!

This particular ballot only had 2 agencies on it. A person could have checked the boxes, put a stamp on it, and mailed it in. It doesn't get much easier than that.

Apathy is the one democracy killer, and it is the one thing I have been trying to 'solve' for many years - to no avail, obviously.

As a nation, we have sacrificed too long and too hard to not appreciate what we have. To one of your questions/points, Bill; it doesn't matter if folks are comfortable with the status quo - they should vote anyway, if for no other reason that to help those elected understand what their electoral (all of them) really think and feel. That would help policy setters, providing them with real data instead of imagined "mandates".

What will it take to get community participation in our communities? What will it take to overcome apathy? I wish I knew.


Bill, it's a non governor or presidential voting year. That is largely why voters are light.


I meant to include this: "Voter turnout just past 20 percent", from The Daily Journal; Web Link

While I'm here, please forgive my typos above.


Don't understand why more people don't vote. Its so easy with absentee ballots that's what my wife & I always use. Even though lots of times don't really know who the candidates are we depend on the HMB Review for info about the candidates.


I'm with you, savino; "Don't understand why more people don't vote."

Further, as you note, absentee is the way to go. The vast majority of registered voters on the coast are permanent absentee. My wife and I are in that group.

@ Bill; "Even though lots of times don't really know who the candidates are we depend on the HMB Review for info about the candidates." See that Bill? and savino has lots of company. That's why some are so critical of the Review Editorial Board's reasoning and endorsements. It does make a difference and you need to know that - although I'm sure you must. If not, why then would the Review even do endorsements?


For decades I've wondered why newspapers do endorsements and why people pay any attention to them. Wouldn't people be better off asking knowledgeable friends with similar views?


Since you asked (which of course you didn't, but you did raise a good point watchdog):

I would suspect that the crux of the issue - to endorse or not to endorse - by a local paper has to be tied to this...the function of a newspaper is to report the news, not make it. And that is something I've wrestled with on this matter and why I took offense to some of the Editorial Board's endorsements.

Bill commented that (paraphrasing here, but I'll get the quote if pushed) nobody paid attention anyway. I honestly can't believe that he would say that; but he did.

The issue, in my mind, regarding endorsements or not has got to center around how deep the endorser is willing to dig in their efforts to 'discover' who they truly believe is best. That means taking it all in, and sharing it all with those they are supplying the endorsements to and for. So, as an example: in the CCWD race, the Review had glowing things to say about one of the candidates, but neglected a 6 year track record of failure, to endorse that individual. Now had the Editorial Board demonstrated a balanced approach that was honest and complete in detail and still made the endorsement they made, believe it or not I would have been disappointed in their choice, but that would have been that as far as I'm concerned.

Call it what you like; investigative reporting, digging a little deeper than perhaps is minimally required, whatever; if you're going to do it, do it right - otherwise, don't do it at all. And if you do it, please don't get your drawers in a knot and get all defensive when some idiot like me challenges it.

Frankly, based on the track record the Review holds, I would prefer that they stick to reporting the news and not making the news. I think, as you note watchdog, folks might then be directed by other resources and we might benefit as a community. Then, the Review can simply report who wins and leave the 'work' to the voters.


In this -George's- world, an individual who owns a newspaper - the epitome of free speech - cannot have an opinion or worse yet, publish that opinion.

Private property (a business) and free speech just get in the way for Democrats who know what is best for everyone.

Tootles!


I forgot to vote. So busy. Neither my wife nor I remember ever seeing our absentee ballots arrive in the mail. Weird. First time I haven't voted in many, many years. Mea culpa.


Coasters ... shame, but you did admit it, so we'll go easy on you both This time; to the corner for you and your wife. 5 minutes, and No Peeking!

Mea culpa accepted... this time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend (after the corner).


Does anyone pay attention to newspaper endorsement? Doubt it. Same with those election mailers from either party wherein they recommend a whole slate of their party. They go right into the recycling container at our house, not even into the house.


It is sad, indeed, how low the turnout was. GSD, in particular, had only 16 votes in the semi-final tally between 3rd place (elected), and 6th place. That's pretty darn close.

In the MCC election, we had 482 people (out of 1604 ballots cast), who voted for a candidate who did his best to let people know that he wasn't running. That's over half as many votes as I got, so a lot of folks didn't bother to do much research. And yes, only 21% turnout for our race. A fair number of people voting only voted for a subset of the candidates (better than not voting at all!).

These local races are where votes have the largest impact, so the argument that it's on off year election just doesn't buy much with me.

For MCC, nearly 2/3 of the ballots cast were mail-in. It's pretty easy to vote by mail. It's frustrating that so few people will even make that effort.

There was a lot of campaigning door to door in some races, so it's not as though people just forgot about the election. Unfortunately, not many people who don't vote say why (I saw the one response in this thread).

No answers, but I've been worrying about the low vote turnout for a long time.

Similarly, few people seem to show up at the various board meetings, except when something really grabs people's attention. We do need a more informed and interested electorate, but I don't see how to get there, when all the things that have been tried over the years have

had such low impact.


I don't buy the even/odd year proclamation either. In the 2005 November election we had a turnout of 73%, if memory serves. That was huge, but then a lot was at stake.

There are other times when I feel their is a lot at stake and we don't see anything close to that level of turnout.


Oh, and while I'm here, I would again take this opportunity to thank all that ran, that put themselves 'out there'. It takes a lot.


Greater participation would be good. It should be encouraged.

Nonetheless - if it were up to me:

- - - - - No one would be allowed to vote by mail except members of the armed forces while necessarily away from the area, and folk unable to go to the polls for medical reasons;

- - - - - a picture ID would be required to vote at the polls. That this is not the case in California is sad - it is, in my mind, criminal.

Vote by mail just opens up the opportunity for fraud too much. Despite the claims of some to the contrary, I have no doubt whatsoever that vote by mail results in fraud and I do not understand how anyone can believe that it does not. That it does not ignores human nature and is absurd. Fraud should be made more difficult to perpetrate - not easier.

As important as it is to get people interested enough and knowledgeable enough and concerned enough to vote, it does not bother me at all if, in the end, the only people who do vote are such people.

When I was a young man and worked on elections, we made it a point to telephone or knock at the door of every person on the voter list that had not voted by mid-morning. We reminded the folk that it was election day and that every vote is important. We advised every voter that if they had any sort of problem getting to the polls, we would have someone pick them up at their door, drive them to the polls and drive them home again. During the drive, we did not campaign for our people even if asked. we did, however, have banners attached to the vehicles, so I guess that was some sort of campaigning. Turnout was always high.


If it were not for mail voting I would not vote at all and neither would a lot of others. I have tried to go to my local polling place in a cold, drafty garage with limited parking. You have to hike uphill on their driveway. No matter what time of the day I went, there was always a long line and no chairs to sit and wait. No thank you.

Election day should be a national holiday, at least for presidential elections. They could combine it with Veteran's Day, since that's what they fight for. Internet voting should be allowed. No results should be released anywhere until the polls close across the country.


^^^ Election day should be a national holiday, at least for presidential elections. ^^^

Agreed.

^^^ They could combine it with Veteran's Day, since that's what they fight for. ^^^

I think the fourth Tuesday in April would be better.

^^^ Internet voting should be allowed. ^^^

That should allow ample room for fraud.

^^^ No results should be released anywhere until the polls close across the country. ^^^

That'll give that manipulator another 3 hours to rig the results for the east coast.


Precocious, I don't have your problem. My polling place is easily accessible, has parking, and the folk there are nice. Given that, if the following seems a bit hypocritical, so be it.

If voting is so unimportant to you that some inconvenience and the need for some effort will keep you from it, I think that it would just as well if you didn't vote. Voters should understand what a privilege voting is. Some say voting is a duty --- nonsense. It is a wonderful privilege, and the system would not be worse if those who don't appreciate that don't vote. You should be willing to walk a mile through snow - uphill - to vote and when you do, be thankful for the privilege that you have and that so many have given life and limb for so you could indulge it.

Perhaps we should go back to a poll tax. A small amount that everyone could afford - say $5- per year to be paid in cash at the polls - just to discourage voters who really don't care enough to endure a small inconvenience to have their vote counted.

Voting by mail facilitates fraud.

Unidentified voters casting ballots facilitates fraud.


Being the picky son-of-a gun that I am, I could needle a bit and slightly alter or add; but that's not going to happen.

Thank you Barnus. Well said.


The new totals will be on Shape the Future at 4:30pm today. I am tracking the Granada Sanitary District and a couple of close races over the Hill.


Get with it, you guys. Everything does not require face time these days. You can sign up for medicare, social security, license renewal, sooner or later Obama care, pay your taxes, etc on the internet these days. My mother troops down to the social security office but I'm not going to when my time comes.

It doesn't have to be nationally run. Local election boards can verify the votes. We should be trying to be more inclusive in the voting process, not make it more difficult for people by requiring poll taxes, ID cards, inconvenient times and locations. Some of the more progressive states even have early voting, days ahead of the national election day. If the mail in ballots come early why can't you show up early at some polling place if you want to?


And that would be the other side of the argument. Make it easier. I'm all for easy, but let's consider something that I'll use an analogy to try to explain.

When something is given, as opposed to earned, more times than not it is not appreciated the same as if it were earned. Example; I remember an individual in high school whose Dad was a household name (an elected official). This individual was a pain in the ass (and I hear still is). When he turned 16, his Dad bought him a brand new Mustang. It was a beaut. That individual wrapped that car around two telephone poles and a tree - three separate incidents, mind you, and Dad paid to put it back together each time. I think it would be safe to say that the ass didn't appreciate his 'gift'. Me, on the other hand, had to scrap for everything I've ever had, so when some clown inadvertently opens their car door and hits my vehicle (which was earned, not a gift), it gets my attention.

It is already almost as easy as it can be to vote, which is what makes not voting even more egregious, IMHO.

Above, I mention a slight alter or an add, and I cut it there because I didn't see the need to go any further than Barnus did, but...

If I had a magic wand - I would require that everyone eligible to vote get registerd. Next, I'd like to see, at least once every 10 years, that all registered voters vote. That way we, as a community, can get a much clearer image of what most want; not just 1 in 5, or 1 in 10 want as we just saw. We could put items on the ballot regarding infrastructure, schools, taxes, land use preferences and so much more to get a true temperature of what our community really wants.

I can see the argument from either side and both appear valid. I am not in a position to speak for Barnus, but what I got from what he posted was that voting is a privilege and many have died or been maimed to provide us that privilege - yet it is being taken for granted. I agree with that line of thought. I can't remember missing one, not one election's voting since I turned 18 (and that was a very long time ago).

It is what it is, of course, but voting is so critical to our democracy, and yet only 20% turnout to vote and only 1/2 the local population is even registered.

Apathy really is a terrible thing and very difficult to combat, let alone defeat. I just wish that folks would make the time from their busy schedules and participate in this democracy that they are part of, but apparently don't necessarily appreciate. Will making voting easier help? I doubt it.

Many have died


don't know how that "Many have died" (at the end) got there. It was unintentional; sorry. Kind of comes out of nowhere...


Barnus, I really don't think vote by mail encourages fraud, any more than voting in person. After all, we sign our ballots, and that's pretty much the same as in-person. True, we don't show ID, but ID is pretty easy to fake. Fundamentally, this kind of fraud is detected if more than one vote from the same person is recorded, and it's hard to have much effect without that happening, even in a low turn out election.

Other kinds of fraud are more effective.

Internet voting will come, and it will have it's problems, but at a local level, is also fairly easy to detect.

I'd much rather have people vote in a way that's easy for them, than not vote at all. I'd be even happier if they were "informed votes". But not exercising one of the most basic rights and (to my way of thinking) requirements of being a citizen in a democracy of any kind is hard for me to accept.

So, new ways of voting that overcome simple resistance is a good thing. For those who like going to polling places

, that's great. I don't want it to be a requirement.

Marc, thanks for the note about new results being posted. For MCC, another 160 ballots showed up since last Friday. That surprises me...

I've not watched the election results over time this closely in the past, so I'd assumed it would be just a few votes. No change in any of the coast-side rankings for any of the races. Nice to see the turnout percentage creeping higher!

For GSD, the spread between 3rd and 6th opened up a bit (by 11 votes), and turnout now is over 25%, but still low.


Vote By Mail ballots should not be allowed to be sent in so early. Too many people vote before they have any information on which to make an informed decision.

On the other hand, the reason that real results take so long (they scheduled another update for 4:30 pm Wednesday) is that the VBMs and Provisional ballots received on election day (or is it those received after 3pm on election day?) are counted after election day. That explains the 160 MCC ballots Dave mentions. Provisionals are the biggest pain because they have to be held for last in order to verify that each specific voter didn't vote via VBM or some other way.

Dave -- check those rankings again! Who is elected didn't change. However: the weirdest thing this time around is that in the latest GSD results, Charlie dropped from 4th to 6th bumping Gael out of last place. There is now only a 21 vote difference between Gael in 5th and David Seaton in 3rd, which is much smaller than the difference between 2nd and 3rd. In fact, the gap from 2nd to 3rd is much larger than the gap from 3rd to 6th!

At least in the GSD election, every vote really did matter.


Leonard, thanks. I did indeed misread the update.

I disagree about the early return of ballots. Pretty much all the info is out there by a month before the election. True, some of the newspaper articles and endorsements are later, but there isn't really a good reason for that, particularly when mail-in ballots are such a large percentage of the vote. From talking to people, most folks don't return their ballots right away, but it gives them more time to look at the ballot and think about it. A few of us do return the ballots early, but I suspect most who return early are those who research the issues and candidates fairly well (it would be an interesting research topic, if not already out there).


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