This editorial is from the East Bay Times:
2018 is an even number. And that means it’s an election year.
It’s what politicos call the midterm elections, as in midway between the last presidential election, in 2016, and the next one, in 2020. If recent history is any indication, turnout will be dreadful.
In November 2014, the last midterm general election, only 31 percent of eligible voters in California bothered to register and then cast ballots. That’s the lowest participation here since at least 1910, which is how far back the secretary of state’s published records go.
Let’s change that. Consider this a plea to register to vote, if you haven’t already, and then show up on Election Day.
Want some inspiration? Look at what’s going on in Virginia: A race for a seat that will determine the balance of power in the state House of Delegates is tied 11,608 to 11,608. Election officials are planning a random drawing Thursday to pick the winner.
Think it couldn’t happen here? Think again. It already has.
One of the great Bay Area stories was the 1992 Martinez school board race. Howard Barto and Bob Repicky finished tied for the third and final seat. The school district drew lots and Repicky won.
Here’s the kicker: Barto defeated himself. At the polls, he could vote for up to three candidates. He cast three votes, including one for himself and one for Repicky. If he’d just voted for himself, he would have won.
That same year, the Benicia City Council election was determined by one vote. And three years later a San Ramon Valley school bond, which required two-thirds approval, was defeated. It needed just two more votes in favor or one less vote against it.
In San Jose in June 2016, Lan Diep unseated incumbent Councilman Manh Nguyen by 12 votes. The lead held through two recounts, but Nguyen is still appealing a court decision upholding Diep’s election.
That November, Los Altos voters selected three City Council members. The third- and fourth-place candidates, Lynette Lee Eng and Neysa Fligor, were separated by only five votes.
Those are stories in which one or just a few votes made the difference. But that’s not the only reason to vote. Voting is an individual and secret action. But it’s also a treasured right of collective political expression, and it can help determine our future.
Look at last month’s race for a U.S. Senate seat from Alabama. Democrats’ mobilization of voters, especially African-American women, was a key factor in the election of Democrat Doug Jones. And, yes, there was the matter of Republican loser Roy Moore, who repulsed some voters from his own party.
So, if you want to participate in this great political process this year, you need to vote. And that means you first need to register. If you haven’t already, do it today. For more information, go to http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/
And then hang on. We’re entering an interesting political year.