Leaders in Sacramento say this is an important election, but do Coachella Valley voters agree? Judging by Tuesday’s precinct turnout observations, not much.
Lisa Beardeaux of Desert Hot Springs wanted to be first in line to vote in this special election Tuesday.
“I’m a teacher here in California, so the measures on the ballot are extremely important to me and the students in the classroom,” Beardeaux said.
But empty voting precincts with long stretches between voterswere the norm all across the Coachella Valley. Many mailed their ballots. Others blame election fatigue.
“It’s kind of sad that we have the opportunity to make decisions and nobody shows up,” Bermuda Dunes voter Rob Ferraud lamented.
Even state Assemblyman Manuel Perez made a quick trip home to Coachella to vote.
“I flew down here from Sacramento to [vote]. It doesn’t look like turnout is very high, but then again, this is a working class community here,” said Assemblyman Perez.
Voting procedures vary by precinct. In Coachella, they give everyone a paper ballot unless somebody requests to use an electronic voting machine. The California Secretary of State wants these machines used by special needs voters. But, in Bermuda Dunes, they ask everybody if they would like to vote by paper or electronically.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen decertified most e-voting machines. She didn’t trust them after scientists proved they could hack the vote.
Bowen let Riverside County keep a few of them for disabled voters, but, by the look of it, everybody can still cast a vote on the same machines that got a vote of no confidence by state officials.
Desert Hot Springs voter Jeff May said, “I like the paper, it’s traceable. I think there needs to be a paper trail.”
But Rob Perraud in Bermuda Dunes prefers e-voting.
“It’s pretty simple, pretty cut and dry. I didn’t really see any problems with it.”
Either way the vote is cast, it’s barely coming in at all, looking at how this voter turnout is ending up.
For more information on voting precinct locations and hours, go to www.voteinfo.net.