comments

Redistricting creates ‘fog’ for voters

Auburn area ballots will be cast for 2 congressional districts
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
For the first time, Auburn area residents will cast votes for more than one congressional district, causing some confusion among voters who may be casting a ballot different from one of their neighbors down the street. The area is no longer entirely represented by District 4, represented by Republican Tom McClintock. “Auburn is divided in half,” said Paul Berger, president of Auburn Area Democratic Club, or AADC. “So we get people coming into our office who are very confused as to what district they are in, who is their candidate, who they should work for, and it is a constant source of confusion.” Murriel Oles, immediate president of the California Federation of Republican Women Northern Division, said she hasn’t personally talked to any confused voters, but the organization is training precinct workers on how to help those who may have trouble with it on election day, Nov. 6. “They do seem to find fault with the fact that Placer County is so terribly carved up,” Oles said. “We not only have two congressional districts but we also have … portions of three assembly districts, so people just kind of walk around in a fog.” After the 2011 redistricting, the boundary between Congressional Districts 1 and 4 essentially splits the Auburn area in half with the northern city limit as the dividing line, generally extending west on Wise Road and east along the American River. South of that line, City of Auburn residents remain in District 4, along with most of Newcastle, Rocklin, Roseville and Granite Bay. Its boundaries also stretch further into the foothills to include Cool, Foresthill and Pilot Hill. District 1 now encompasses the North Auburn area, Meadow Vista, Christian Valley, Colfax, Weimar and Applegate. The 2011 redistricting was based on 2010 U.S. Census data that show about 14,500 Auburn-area residents in the new District 4 and 18,200 in District 1, according to the AADC. McClintock is being challenged by Democrat Jack Uppal for the District 4 seat, while Democrat Jim Reed and Republican Doug LaMalfa are vying for the District 1 seat that will be vacated by Wally Herger, who is retiring. Voters can learn which district they are in by viewing a sample ballot online at placerelections.com. If a voter shows up at the wrong polling place, provisional ballots will be available that will still allow them to vote, so long as they are a Placer County resident, Oles said. Berger, however, is more concerned that the redistricting might result in some people being uninformed about their actual choices. “If they carefully studied their sample ballot, they will know who is on the ballot,” he said. “But the casual voter who doesn’t follow the election real closely will probably come in and see somebody’s name on there that they’ve never heard of before, and what we’re trying to do is we’re spending a lot of time educating people about our candidates.” Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews