Our View: Tuesday's ballot will shape November election

-A +A
As the presidential primary season ends Tuesday, another campaign season heats up in Placer County. Voters shouldn’t let this opportunity to shape the November elections slip by. Tuesday’s ballot is a light one, and for that reason many pundits expect the turnout to be low. Several races are uncontested, while two state issues dealing with government’s use of eminent domain have generated a collective sigh from the public. Throw in sky-high gas prices, equity-slashing home values, a five-year war and a bitter Democratic presidential race, and Placer County voters feel like the weary 5-year-old on a daylong drive: “Aren’t we there, yet?” But voters who haven’t cast their mail ballots or those planning to escape the polls for the new “Sex and the City” movie Tuesday night should think again. Tuesday’s election will set the stage for the fall ballot, when a historic presidential race and a potential state constitutional amendment on gay marriage are sure to attract voters in droves. Perhaps this is no more true than in the races for the Fourth Congressional District, in which a crowded field of Republicans is vying to nail down the party nomination to face presumptive Democratic candidate Charlie Brown. GOP candidates Suzanne Jones, Tom McClintock, Ted Terbolizard and Doug Ose have been attending forums and debates every week since April. McClintock and Ose have emerged as the two frontrunners based on their experience, endorsements and election war chests. The race has been far from cordial. Ose has used his wealth — about $2 million and counting — to fund an aggressive TV campaign critical of McClintock’s residency and positions on veterans’ issues. McClintock, in turn, has fought back, painting Ose as a liberal in a conservative suit. Can a personal fortune buy a seat in Congress? Can a Southern California state senator adequately represent a district that stretches to the Oregon border? Does a vote for Terbolizard or Jones make a statement … and what does it say? In the end, which one is best suited to battle a rested Brown for the seat being vacated by Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville? That’s a pretty strong reason to vote on Tuesday. Another intriguing matchup is the Placer County Supervisors’ Fifth District race, in which incumbent Bruce Kranz is being challenged by Robert Houston of Meadow Vista and Jennifer Montgomery of Serene Lakes. Each candidate offers strikingly different views on Kranz’s first-term report card. Should he earn a second term? Unless Kranz is able to secure a majority of the district vote, he’ll be facing one of the two on Nov. 4 — an election that would allow a more public airing of the critical natural resource, environmental and planning issues facing this resource-rich county district. Another strong reason to vote on Tuesday. If you’ve already voted via mail, congratulations. But is your ballot good to go? A simple Web search can tell you. Visit the Placer County Elections Division home page and click on the “vote-by-mail tracking” link at the bottom of the page. Key in the necessary personal information and you’ll know if your vote is ready to be tabulated — or whether there are problems. Whether you vote at home or at the polls, your vote is important. Make it count.