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Election Notes

Over half of Tuesday’s Mendo votes remain uncounted. We’re not surprised to see the now annual vote count disclaimer from the Elections office, and will spare you, dear reader, the County Clerk's implausible annual litany of excuses.

We doubt the outcome for the two county ballot measures will change:

Measure V (Standing Dead Trees Declared Nuisance): So far 6365 for, 4249 against.

And Measure W: (Charter County): So far 4401 for, 5627 against.

Judge candidate Patrick Pekin could also close the gap between himself and Faulder when the final tally is in but the preliminary vote for Faulder is large enough to withstand a late wave of Pekin votes.

So, why does Mendo take so long to tally up the vote when, for example, Marin and San Francisco had the finals within hours of the polls closing? Asking around, the consensus opinion is a shortage of personnel to do the counting of all the provisional ballots that come in on election day, which all need to be checked individually, Mendo being Mendo, Ms. Ranochak certainly knows consequences of a negative type are unlikely, so a speedy count seems forever out of sight.

California went for Hillary by a wider margin than us Bern Feelers had hoped, and now commences the sixty-year-old whining from professional Democrats about how we all have to get behind an imperial, Wall Street war hawk because she is better than Trump. We'll be urged, nay implored, to vote for everything in Hillary that we're opposed to because Trump is worse, although he's likely to be better on the war and peace issues than Hillary, the grifter from wherever she claims to be from these days. Domestically, both of them will be disasters for Americans with annual incomes under a hundred thou, which is most Americans. Third Party here we come. This is the worst choice for president in the history of the country.

Superior Court Judge: Keith Faulder, outstanding votes notwithstanding, will beat back newcomer, Patrick Pekin. Pekin ran strong on the Mendocino Coast where he lives and campaigned hard everywhere, but a preponderance of voters understood that Faulder, with his many years of experience, is much more likely to make a sound judge than a guy without much experience, legal or life. Faulder's been around the block many times and he's still laughing — exactly the kind of guy you want sitting in judgment.

Supervisor 1st District: Incumbent Carre Brown annihilated challenger Montana Podva. No surprise there. Mrs. Brown has her political blindspots, water policy being the largest one, but she's smart, personable and attentive to her constituents, inland grape growers and Potter Valley's almost free water farmers primary among them.

Measure U (Fort Bragg/Social Service zoning restriction): Lots of ballots still out for this one, but if the first reported margin holds U will lose, but not by enough that opponents — Fort Bragg City government and their friends and families — can claim they have anything like a mandate for their crazy conversion of the downtown landmark Old Coast Hotel to a highly dubious "homeless" program.

Measure V (Countywide, Standing Dead trees declared nuisance): Yes: 60%, No: 40%. We thought it would pass, toothless as it is, but the Mendocino Redwood Company ran the dumbest campaign for the money they spent (more than $250,000) that we can recall. MRC's public relations under Sandy Dean started out smart and sensitive to the neighbors. How the company's management got to their present LP-like intransigence and poor public relations is an ongoing mystery.

Measure W (Make Mendocino County a Charter County): Lost big. Poorly prepared, confusingly propounded, proponents too isolated in their traditional echo chamber from main stem Mendo.

The Bern won big over Clinton in Mendo, Lake, and HumCo but Trump, considering he was on the ballot unopposed, turned out an ominously large vote. He has a good shot at beating Clinton in Mendo in November because lots of Bernie people are so angry at the in-your-face corruption of the Democratic Party they will vote for Trump in the general election. Bernie could beat Trump, Hillary might not. (Only one Boonville person sports a Hillary bumpersticker, but she votes gender, not issues. The gender vote is a solid ten percent in Mendo.)

Sexist? Is it just us oinkers or do lots of women also wince when they hear Hillary's assaultive voice sucker punching us out of the tv and radio? Really, when you can't even fake insincerity…

Deep Norcal went big for Bern, but from Sonoma County to Frisco, it was Hillary country.

San Francisco, self-alleged national headquarters of everything politically progressive went for Hillary over Bernie by 18,000 votes!

A reader comments: "According to the Final Election Night Report on Mendocino County’s website, a paltry 14.3% of the registered voters in Fort Bragg bothered to vote either for or against Measure U. What does that say about the majority of residents of the city? Do they really not care either way?"

Dude, Mendo County is the slowest County in the state to get ALL the votes counted. Patience. It's not over.

Supervisor Dan Gjerde put it this way in 2014: “Everybody wants the election count to be as accurate as possible. I think the question that keeps coming up to me and other people on the coast is they look at election night they see that Humboldt County which has 50% more people reporting on election night and I assume they still have a few provisional ballots. But if you look at the provisional ballot count in Mendocino County I think it's fewer than 500 that are outstanding. And it’s something like half of the ballots not yet been counted in Mendocino County whereas in Humboldt County I think it was 100% except for maybe the provisionals. So I guess the question for the Elections Office is, What are they doing in Humboldt that's different than what's happening here?”

That was 2014. Nothing has changed.

Another reader considers how it is that it takes Mendocino County sooooo long to count the vote: Same explanation as always: mail-in ballots dropped off at the polls require more time to process than ballots cast at the polls themselves, and due to Marcia Wharff’s changes to voting countywide (most especially changing quite a few precincts to “mail-in-only” precincts so voters in those precincts can NOT vote at the polls) and because more people choose to vote by mail, but do NOT get their ballots in the mail in time, we have a flood of ballots dropped off at the polls these days. Plus so many provisional ballots this time will also make the count take longer. There really isn’t “tech” as far as I know – although I can’t say for sure they are NOT using computer technology to compare signatures on vote-by-mail envelopes/ballots to signatures on voter registration forms, I think it’s still done by hand, but that’s a good question.

Plus the voter registrar’s disinterest in providing rolling updates each day, every couple of days, as some county voter office’s do.

I understand why Ranochak doesn’t want to provide such rolling updates, voter registrars (the ones who aren’t crooked, and Sue Ranochak is not crooked) must be tidy types by nature, and I’m not sure Faulder/Pekin would like it much better to have the roller coaster of interim updates, either. And it would probably confuse the public even more than they are confused anyway. I just HATE that “100 percent reporting” field on the GEMS election night report.

Anyway, it does make a certain amount of sense to just get the whole count done, then research and count the provisionals (they have to get the whole count done first, in order to “research” that somebody who filled out a provisional ballot didn’t send in their mail-in ballot too, my guess is that’s the largest chunk of provisionals, people who show up at the polls without their mail-in ballots in hand), then get the “housekeeping” done – the mandated recounts, etc, — and then release it in one fell swoop.

The BOS already funds “extra help” at the voter office to help count the ballots, but if they funded more, maybe the count of the mail-in ballots that come in on Election Day and after, could be done earlier. The November 2015 results were released 10 days after the election. Wharff used to take the entire 30 days allowed each time, apparently just on principle! (my opinion only); also IMO and based on experience with her, Ranochak will get the count certified and released as fast as she can.

I think Mendocino County should end “mail-in-only” precincts, let those who want to vote at the polls vote at the polls – they never have trouble getting THAT vote counted by 2 am or so the morning after Election Day – and let those who want to vote by mail vote by mail. Not force voters who don’t WANT to vote early enough to get their ballots in the mail in time, into vote by mail.

* * *

A voter reacts to the Clinton victory: "I am queasy from the horror...the horror, the pure nausea, trying to contemplate what lies ahead. Ok, schmaltz time: I remember accompanying my Mom to her voting station when I was a child--in the Bronx of the 1950's. The entire outing was a mystery--the nearby school gym set up with curtained metal rooms; all, the adults wearing their good clothing — and that meant women in gloves, men in suits and ties, and everyone in hats. Sometimes I was allowed to enter the polling booth, with all the mysterious-looking levers. I didn't understand what she was doing till the Kennedy/Nixon race, when I was ten years old. My first turn at voting took place in quite a different environment — Berkeley, Ca., 1972, and I remember leaving the polling place feeling like I had partaken in an important right of passage. That slightly excited feeling remained throughout years of elections, though the process now lacks community spirit, as I fill out my ballot at home. But this — Hillary v Trump. It's beyond my tiny comprehension. I will need to be cryogenically frozen for the duration of the campaign. After thawing, I can install a sandbox in my living room, so I will be able to have easy access to head sticking for the duration. WTF? Yea...End Days, I know.


  1. Keith Bramstedt June 20, 2016

    Re: “A voter reacts to the Clinton victory.”: “The [voting] process now lacks community spirit.”…..Sure does! In Marin where I live I think 70% of voters vote by mail. Of course I hardly know anybody in my community anyway, even after living here 22 years. That’s because I don’t assume most affluent Marinites would be interested in me because I’m far from affluent. Or maybe I’m not tolerant of them?

    Another complaint is that nobody ever cares how I vote; people, even family, don’t seem to care one way or the other how I vote. And I don’t think it’s out of respecting privacy either. I think it’s probably because we are conditioned to be consumers over citizens and politics and voting is a civic matter (is the term “civics” even used anymore?) not a consumer matter.

  2. Mike June 20, 2016

    No big deal….the older Bernie or bust voters can go back to voting green as is their usual habit and the young ones can continue to buy the solidified body of decades of largely right wing created memes that they see about H. The noise heard from these quarter as won’t impact her chances….numbers look good now.

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