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Another View: Election season – what a wonderful time of year

Another View
By: Jenifer Gee, Journal editor
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The elections are coming and it can be an exciting and, at times, tedious period for the newspaper.
I love the election process and the ability to vote.
That said, it is very easy to become disenchanted with the process every year, especially with huge national elections, such as the one for our next president.
When California is already expected to go to Democrat President Barack Obama, it’s easy to think, why vote?
The answer is just as easy: Because you can.
But if that’s still not a reason to get you to fill out your ballot or go to your local polling place, think about how you can influence what happens in your own backyard.
Election Day is Nov. 6, but now is the time for voters to start learning about local, state and national elections. Who’s running and what propositions and initiatives are being taken to voters?
Mail-in ballots are scheduled to be sent out starting Oct. 8, so now is the time to read the newspaper, candidate websites, attend meetings or forums and other informative sources to get a picture of what you’re voting for.
In the Journal, we will focus on local races including: Auburn City Council, Placer County Water Agency District 5, which includes Auburn, Auburn Area Recreation and Park District, and Auburn City Clerk among others.
The city council and city clerk races are of interest to an estimated 9,000 voters, the Auburn Parks and Recreation District impacts 25,000 voters in Placer County, and the Placer County Water Agency race for Division 5 alone includes an estimated 40,000 voters.
We’ll also publish research from the Placer County League of Women Voters who will present information about the propositions on the ballot this November.
Another great resource for voters is the Placer County Office of Elections. The office can inform you about who’s running, how to turn in your ballot, which candidates, measures, initiatives, etc. impact you and so on.
The office can also help you register and make your vote count.
Ryan Ronco, assistant clerk-recorder for the Placer County Office of Elections, said many voters may not realize they are not registered. Ronco said the office can help even if the deadline to register has passed.
He said the office works with the courts in some cases to validate a ballot and they’ve emailed ballots and had them faxed back, after the voter has signed a privacy waiver, in certain circumstances.
“We encourage voters if they find themselves in a situation where they think there’s no hope to at least give us a chance to see if there’s something we can do for them,” Ronco said. “Often times we do have a process that allows eligible voters the opportunity to vote.”
Ronco added that the office’s website, placerelections.com, is another helpful resource. Voters can check to see if they’re registered and they can also check if they’re mail-in-ballot was OK’d. In addition to those features, there is a plethora of other election-related information.
Of course, Ronco can quickly tell you why the voting process is so important.
“Even though it was more than 200 years ago since we gained independence, we still feel like we are an office that the founding fathers intended when they intended for people to have a say in their government,” Ronco said.
And if you don’t feel as though your vote toward president will make a difference, your vote on local races certainly will. Ronco advised voters to read through sample ballots and other materials to get to know the candidates for their school district, city council and other races.
“It’s those local districts where the rubber meets the road,” Ronco said. “You have a direct tie to the taxes spent in our communities.”
Placer County typically has one of the higher voter turnouts in the state.
This June, however, that turnout was relatively lackluster for the county with just 45 to 47 percent participating in the election process. That’s still higher than the state average of 25 percent,but I’d like to think Placer County voters will want to do better this time around.
This November I hope that the percentage rises substantially as it has in the past and voters get involved.
On the Journal’s part, I hope to hear from readers about what questions they have and what information they want to know about the election.
It’s not in the Journal budget to send a reporter on the campaign trail with President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, but we can still voice your opinions on their actions as well as the actions of our local representatives on this page and online.
We’re ready for the election and hope you are, too.

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Call to readers
What do you want to know about this year’s election?
Send your questions and we’ll do our best to answer them at Ajournal@goldcountrymedia.com.