By now, you’ve likely been barraged by mailers and television ads and people hanging flyers on your door to the point that you’re ready for this campaign season to end.
Election Day Tuesday is the final day to cast a ballot.
So far, in Tuolumne County 10,842 people have voted. The elections office parses it out this way: 4,909 Republicans, 3,630 Democrats, 1,841 claiming no party. Other parties garnering some votes were American Independent, Green, Libertarian and Peace and Freedom.
It’s hard to know precisely what these numbers indicate — who’s holding an edge — but they are interesting nonetheless. Slightly more than 45 percent of registered Republicans have already voted, a third of the Democrats and 17 percent of those who did not claim a party preference.
It’s easy to see how important those voters who have no particular desire to be aligned with any party are to the decision on who will represent us on the Board of Supervisors, in the state Legislature, in the governor’s office and in Congress.
They represent the third largest group of voters after Republicans and Democrats. Here are those numbers — 13,190 Tuolumne County residents are registered as Republicans, 9,396 Democrats and 7,510 expressed no party preference. Those without a party are people who generally vote on issues and beliefs. They can easily toggle between parties based on who’s running, the importance of the issues to them.
In all there are 31,999 registered voters in Tuolumne County. Sixty percent of the 29,275 registered voted in the 2014 midterm election. In the 2016 presidential election, 84 percent of voters here voted, compared to 54 percent statewide.
Talk about get out the vote.
Wouldn’t it be great if Tuolumne County could record that statistic in this off-year election, traditionally a much lower turnout than in a presidential year?
The importance of this election can’t be understated.
In many ways, local positions most directly affect your life. Voters will decide the direction of many school districts, most especially Sonora Union High School District, where the board members elected on Tuesday will hold the majority.
The future of the Tuolumne Utilities District is at stake. In other words, for many of us, our water and sewer service.
What sort of representation will be have in Congress?
The race for Tuolumne County supervisorial districts 2 and 3 can be seen through the lens of what impacts those two areas, but the truth is, while we can’t all vote for them, their service will affect everyone who lives in the county. Please study the candidates and what they propose to do, then vote wisely for all of us, not just special interests.
What do you think about taxing cannabis sales in Tuolumne County? Do you want the state to issue bonds to build housing for veterans and the homeless? Do you want to repeal the gas tax? Issue bonds for private children’s hospitals and the University of California children’s hospitals? Farm animals, dialysis centers, rent control, property tax — all issues on the ballot. Our next governor and superintendent of education. These decisions are going to be made, and if you have an opinion on any one of them, you need to vote.
The Tuolumne County elections office at 2 S. Green St. in downtown Sonora will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday if you want to vote early. They’re open during regular business hours on Monday. And your local polling place will be open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and will stay open until 8 p.m. Thirteen hours. More than enough time to make your voice heard.
California requires businesses to give employees time off to vote. Take advantage of that. Do your civic duty. Stand up and be counted.