CONSIDER THIS--Some people get their teeth cleaned like clockwork; others change the oil in their cars religiously; and there are those who, like me, never miss an election. I have been known to show up to vote when the only thing on the ballot is a runoff for community college trustee. No waiting in line at that one.
There are also those who boast of never voting. Their rationale is usually something like, “My vote doesn’t count” or “The system is rigged.” It’s never “I’m too lazy” or “I don’t care.” Yet, often it’s these folks who complain the most about the politicians they let other people choose for them.
When turnout is only 15 or 20 percent, those who show up at the polls are casting ballots not just for themselves, but for also for another four or five registered voters who can’t be bothered.
On Tuesday, June 5, Californians will decide who gets on the ballot in November. The state’s “jungle” primary means the top two vote getters for each office advance to the runoff. Party affiliation doesn’t matter. Two Democrats could end up running against each other for governor or senator. Likewise, two Republicans may be the only choices in some Congressional races. A leading candidate for state insurance commissioner has no party affiliation.
The 27 candidates for governor literally run from A to Z (Akinyemi Agbede to Zoltan Istvan). Every poll indicates the front runner is current lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom. After that it’s fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa or Republican John Cox or maybe somebody else. (Probably not Akinyemi or Zoltan.)
There are 32 names on the primary ballot for U.S. senator. Leading the list is the incumbent, Diane Feinstein. Her main rival is Kevin de Leon, former president pro tem of the state senate. The list of candidates includes five “advocates” and four engineers, but only one bus driver.
Candidates for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, state senate and general assembly are also on the primary ballot. In Orange County, Democrats are slugging it out to see who will get to take on Republican Dana Rohrabacher. Unless, of course, the other Republican in the contest captures the second slot and ruins the Democrats’ chance to flip the seat.
Downballot, voters face a plethora of choices to fill judicial positions. Many skip these pages or pick candidates because they like their names or descriptions. On my ballot, one judicial candidate wants everyone to know she’s an attorney anda mother.
There are only five statewide propositions on the ballot this time. They include a bond measure for parks, requiring transportation revenues be used solely for transportation-related purposes, mandating a legislative supermajority for using cap-and-trade revenues, setting an effective date for ballot measures, and exempting new rain-capture systems from property-tax assessments.
If the propositions seem sort of innocuous and boring, it’s because proponents are saving the good ones for November, either to drive turnout or hoping for a better result because of higher turnout. Republicans, in particular, are pushing a gas tax repeal measure in an effort to save some G.O.P. congressional seats.
VOTERS HAVE ALREADY STARTED MAILING IN BALLOTS. YOU HAVE UNTIL 8:00 P.M. ON TUESDAY, JUNE 5, TO VOTE IN PERSON.
(Doug Epperhart is a publisher, a long-time neighborhood council activist and has served on the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners. He is a contributor to CityWatch and can be reached at: Epperhart@cox.net)