This preliminary election report is being assembled late on November 3 before all final results are in, but by the time you are reading it Election 2020 will finally be over.
That’s just per the calendar, of course. Because as of November 3 there is no reason to believe the Election will be over until (a) all ballot inspections, counts, and recounts are completed in all 50 states, (b) all challenges to the results are filed, argued, and decided in state and federal courts, (c) overweight militiamen shoot it out with – or in cooperation with – local, state, and federal law enforcement and the U.S. military, and (d) white smoke rises from the Vatican chimney.
Before complaining about how long elections take, remember: Ours is a young democracy that has only had 244 years to practice this voting stuff. Also consider that for most of that time women couldn’t practice their voting skills, and black residents (a.k.a “slaves”) took their lives in their hands if they tried. To this day, 30 percent or more of voters don’t vote regularly, so they get kind of rusty at it.
Yes, voting is hard for Americans, even without the confusion faced each year by millions of 18-year-old first-time voters who can’t be trusted to buy beer but who are suddenly asked to select the Leader of the Free World. We can’t expect kids to decipher multiple ballot measures and candidate qualifications, fill in dozens of those tiny circles and properly sign, seal, and deliver their ballot without years of practice doing it wrong. If the latest stats from our county Board of Education are correct, many of them can’t read well to begin with.
Fortunately, while the nation may still be aflame in leaderless chaos at press time our county Registrar has been able to post definitive results for a number of local races and ballot measures, and we can confirm a few of them here:
* Two seats on Sonoma’s City Council were filled before polls opened because the candidates ran unopposed. This demonstrates the election efficiencies that are possible when the job description requires the “Ability to endure endless bitching and solve intractable civic problems without a budget and for no pay.”
* Unless a trove of uncounted “No” ballots turns up in a local creek, Measure P has passed overwhelmingly, strengthening the ability of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Oversight (IOLERO) to pry information from the Sheriff’s Office related to citizen complaints of brutality, stupidity, etc. The Sheriff has reacted to calls for greater transparency by vowing to overturn Measure P in court while insisting he would cooperate with IOLERO if only he could provide his input. That he has not seriously engaged with IOLERO for five years may be due to the complex demands of Daylight Savings Time (“Spring ahead, Fall back”) on his busy schedule.
* Lastly, City of Sonoma voters renewed the City’s Urban Growth Boundary (Measure W) to prevent urban sprawl. Opponents of Measure W say it is “racist” and blocks efforts to build affordable housing in “green” areas outside city limits. UGB supporters, believing affordable housing should be built inside the city and offended by charges of racism, have responded with graphic but race-neutral hand gestures.
Mercifully, the 2020 elections are finally over and a New Year is coming! How… exciting?