Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

My turn: Minority rules!

By
From page A4 | October 30, 2013 | 23 Comments

One of the best things about living in a democracy is that everyone legally allowed to cast a vote has a voice. While campaigning for the 5th Assembly District last year, I heard too many people too often say that one vote — their vote — does not matter.

Every election from the local school board trustee to a U.S. Senator can be lost or won by just one vote, even if millions of votes are cast in a single contest. Our presidential elections utilize the Electoral College as a means of electing our U.S. president. Under that system, it’s not only possible but it has happened that the plurality of votes was greater for one candidate, yet he lost due to the unique process of the Electoral College. That is an altogether different issue that may need to be corrected in the future.

So why is it that approximately half the eligible persons who could vote and have a voice in the democratic process often choose not to? You might be as surprised as I was to find out the percentage of eligible voters that determines the outcome of elections can be quite small.

In the California 5th Assembly District, where I live, there are 463,000 residents. Approximately 319,000 persons are 18 years of age or older and legally allowed to vote. In the last election 157,000 votes were cast for either Frank Bigelow or Rico Oller. That is about 49.2 percent of the eligible voters. Thus, only 25.7 percent of all eligible voters actually decided the outcome in the 2012 general election, which went to Frank Bigelow.

Typically, voter turnout in primary elections is considerably less when an even smaller minority can determine the eventual outcome, that is, deciding who will become our elected representative. This is fairly common leading up to a presidential general election. The percentage of votes I received in the 2012 primary was so minuscule that most reports of my votes were omitted to make room for other candidates’ results.

California, on average, has 55 percent eligible voter participation during presidential general elections. Gubernatorial general elections fare slightly worse statewide (44 percent in 2010). Our district, the 5th A.D. saw a high of 75 percent (656 votes) in Alpine County to a low of 46 percent (40,325 votes) in Madera County in the 2012 general election.

Our democratic process, in which every person’s vote counts equally and all are free to pursue political self-determination, is the envy of the majority who inhabit this planet. A minimum of five (others say seven) of our Constitution’s 27 amendments were enacted to ensure that our voter rights are upheld and in no way diminished.

However, honoring those amendments that guarantee the rights of all persons eligible to vote is the responsibility of all of us. In doing so, we are not only participants in this great democracy our founding fathers created, we are also stewards of its continued health and guarantors of its survival.

Mark Belden ran as an independent for the District 5 Assembly seat acquired ultimately by Frank Bigelow.

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Discussion | 23 comments

  • The son of a WW II VetOctober 30, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    It always helps to call for "Photo ID's" that requires poor Veterans to come up with Documents they never needed before in Texas. (3 trips... told wrong documents -- DD 214 doesn't apply.) My father could take two bullets for this country but NOT vote because he doesn't have a "Hospital" birth certificate..... Needs an 'Original' BF.... He didn't have one to get in the ARMY.......... IF he had a CW Permit... He could register.... WTF......... My father is NOT a danger to this country.... His vote is a danger to "Hate Mongers" who want to Block others from the polls

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  • cookie65October 31, 2013 - 5:40 am

    Your dad's birth certificate has his picture on it?

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  • Dink LaneOctober 31, 2013 - 11:40 am

    Cookie: These new Republican (yes Republican because only Republicans are making voting harder) require ORIGINAL documents to get the ACCEPTED Photo IDs...... In the last election AZ--Maricopa County to be specific-- required ORIGINAL documents at the Voting Booth.... Yes they got to vote....only with a provisional ballot.... and then in Maricopa County ALONE.... they threw away 700,000 provisional ballots..... Sheriff Joe Arpaio won by 84,000 votes..... Humm.... My $$$ bet that the old Vet blocked from voting is NOT a republican.....

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  • cookie65October 31, 2013 - 3:27 pm

    Hey dink, if obama likes your healthcare, you can keep it.

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 3:35 pm

    Cookie, you got your candy ready for the little 'takers?"

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  • R J CarterOctober 31, 2013 - 4:03 pm

    I think as I'm handing out those "freebies" at my front door tonight I'll indoctrinate all the impressionable young ghouls into conservatism....Hey, isn't turn-a-bout is fair play?? ...LOL

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    R.J., you can indoctrinate them by starting to hand out the candy and then snatching it back telling them they are unemployed moochers. Then when they start to cry, tell them to become Republicans and they will earn their own candy. Oh, I'm kidding, Candy Day is not the time for politics.

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  • EvelynOctober 31, 2013 - 4:37 pm

    I've just returned from downtown P'ville Halloween festivities. The kiddies and their assorted adult hangers-on, dogs & whatnot, are too beautiful for words. But I'm fairly certain that this big candy handout is a conspiracy organized by dentists.

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  • Dee#1October 31, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Happy Halloween! -------- http://nalert.blogspot.com/2013/10/healthcare-mash.html

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  • EvelynOctober 31, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    Absolutely positively definitely NOT funny, Dee#1. James, you absolutely positively definitely will NOT find THIS funny. Watch it anyway!!!

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 4:56 pm

    Evelyn, I always forget about the downtown thing. Next year I am going to try to remember and walk around enjoying the event. Is this why I do not get a lot of customers as they have already had their Halloween on Main Street? Could be.

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  • Phil VeerkampOctober 31, 2013 - 5:01 pm

    James, the parents of the tykes know you. They keep their children away. They are afraid - very afraid . . .

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  • EvelynOctober 31, 2013 - 5:02 pm

    James: You must go downtown next year. Really good family fun. And you can take your dogs (on leads, of course).

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  • R J CarterOctober 31, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    James....When I get around to your door tonight I'll either be dressed as Rush Limbaugh or Ronald Reagan... No candy, I'll be wanting either vodka, bacon or cigars....Anything less and it's a flaming bag of dog-poop on your porch........... .

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 5:25 pm

    Phil, BOO! Gotcha.

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 5:26 pm

    R.J., I'll have a pound of bacon ready.

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 5:32 pm

    Evelyn, I watched it. It was a little funny -- we must keep our sense of humor, right?

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  • EvelynOctober 31, 2013 - 5:37 pm

    James: You're a true sport!!!

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  • cookie65October 31, 2013 - 6:02 pm

    Another case of the need for sensitivity training. Leftists sure are sensitive. http://www.ijreview.com/2013/10/90985-man-wears-obama-mask-company-halloween-party-company-promptly-orders-sensitivity-training-750-employees/

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  • cookie65October 31, 2013 - 6:05 pm

    Jerk-O-Lantern.... http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://michaelgraham.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/obama-pumpkin.jpg&imgrefurl=http://michaelgraham.com/welcome-to-the-new-year-same-as-the-old-year/obama-pumpkin/&h=400&w=366&sz=24&tbnid=euD9ehLRyzhfcM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=82&zoom=1&usg=__kwMfclXcMVOZJ4tWvXS5450rKNA=&docid=2RlK4Ip6pEq8yM&sa=X&ei=Dv5yUrDzDOTV2QWz0ICABQ&ved=0CDMQ9QEwBA

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  • cookie65October 31, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    CBS has the documents that obama & co claim they don't have that show 6 (six) people in the entire country signed up for obozocare the first day. The lies just keep adding up.

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    Cookie, it's the black face thing. Only acceptable in the Confederate South.

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  • James E.October 31, 2013 - 6:39 pm

    Cookie, the lies just keep adding up? When will those on the right have sufficient gonads to impeach him (which will fail in the Senate). Come on, move out!! Get it done and stop complaining.

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