Preserve your right to be heard

By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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We’re all familiar with the tale of the Maytag repairman, waiting by the phone, hoping for a call. The workers at the Auburn election poll where I voted on Jan. 4 were in a similar situation, watching the doorway in anticipation that a voter would come through. Official results for last week’s State Senate District 1 election reveal that was the case throughout Placer County. According to Placer County Elections Division figures, only 28.92 percent of the county’s 118,804 registered voters bothered to vote last Tuesday. There was only one race on the ballot, and only two names: Republican Ted Gaines and Democrat Ken Cooley. Senate District 1 snakes through Placer County. The election was being held to fill the seat that had been held by Dave Cox, who died in office in 2010. When I handed my marking pen back to the poll worker, she joked, “What took you so long?” The predicted outcome proved to be true: Gaines won the election by 63.40 percent to Cooley’s 36.13 percent. So why did I, and 33,603 others, bother to vote? Because every vote does count, even in the latest election. If you doubt it, just ask Miguel Ucovich and Vic Markey. On election night in the Nov. 2 general election, semi-official results had put Ucovich, who had 837 votes, in fourth place in the three-seat Loomis town council race. Vic Markey, with 863 votes, appeared to have won a seat. But the final election summary, announced by the Placer County Office of Elections, put incumbent Ucovich back on the council with a narrow three-vote margin of 1, 122 over Markey’s 1,191 votes. Another local race in the March 1996 presidential primary was even closer. In 1993, the California legislature had moved the primary election from June to March, hoping to have more influence in the presidential nomination process. The June primary date was reinstated in 2008. During the 1996 primary, Loomis residents Jim Williams and Bruce Lee tied for second place in the race for District 4 county supervisor. Hazel Hineline, also of Loomis, was in first place. The recount showed Williams had 2, 931 votes, three votes over Lee’s 2,928 total. In the runoff in the November election, Williams beat Hineline, 56.7 to 43 percent. But why was it important to vote in last week’s election, when the outcome was as predicted? Because others, especially women and people of color, have struggled to gain the right to vote. oting is an opportunity to choose those who will lead our government. It recognizes the right to equality and the right to be heard – even in a lopsided race.