After following primary and election results for months in dozens of other states, California’s turn finally arrived. As it turned out, in Moorpark the weather was beautiful - bright blue skies, warm temperatures. It was a perfect day to get out and vote.
Unfortunately, by mid-morning of election day, it appeared that a large part of the 18,798 registered voters in the city had not yet arrived. The San Francisco Chronicle was in fact predicting that only 35 percent of registered voters would be voting in the state.
Judging by a conversation with poll workers at a near-empty gym at the Arroyo Vista Recreation Center, that prediction appeared to be on target.
Melanie Fiske, precinct inspector at Arroyo Vista, called the turnout “very slow.” The precinct has 1,786 registered voters. Fiske estimated that up to that point, only about 100 voters (including mail-in ballots) had actually voted.
The precinct was even slower. With 1,638 registered voters, only 25 people had shown up to vote by 10:45 a.m.
While the turnout may have been a trickle, it appeared to be a steady trickle. Those who did come described themselves as “regular” voters i.e. the diehards of their precincts.
Such was the case with Katherine Dexter, a 25-year resident of Moorpark. At Campus Canyon School, she talked about some of the ballot issues.
Her primary reason for voting? “I’m here for Obama,” she said.
As for the California open ballot, she favored the new format. “I like the open ballot,” she said. “It gives you a choice to vote either way, Democrat or Republican.”
For Allison Cain, this was her second time voting. A student, she expressed pessimism about politics in general.
“As far as any politicians are concerned, none of them seem likely to do anything,” she said.
Her motivation for voting focused on the two ballot propositions.
“I did know I was going to vote yes on 29,” she said. “For the propositions, I feel like those are more important.”
At the Active Adult Center, Larry Houston, a 32-year resident of Moorpark, expressed his attitude toward voting.
“I try not to miss voting,” said Houston, a local artist. “It’s a citizen’s responsibility.”
His views on the propositions varied. “I voted yes on 28 because it’s stale up there,” he said. “We need to get some new blood.”
However, Proposition 29 concerned him.
“I’m not a smoker,” he explained, “but I’m not for more taxes either because it seems like social engineering to me. I believe people are adults and should make their own choices.”
As for the new open ballot, he remained on the fence. “It’s new,” he said, “…too new to make a decision yet.”
At , school teacher Sandra Schneider had her own take on the new open ballot.
“I kind of like it,” she said. “I’m willing to buy into the argument that it will undo the log jam in Sacramento.”
She also felt that a tax on cigarettes might not be a bad idea.
“I like the idea of taxing cigarettes more, even if there’s an argument that it will create more bureaucracy,” said Schneider. “On the other hand, I like that the extra dollar on a pack will encourage people to quit smoking.”
At the Arroyo Vista Recreation Center, Frank Wymond brought along his 15-year-old son Ian.
“I vote in all the elections,” said Wymond. “I like to see democracy in action. I hope when my son turns 18, he’ll also vote in every election.”
On the other side of the ballot box are the legions of volunteers who assist with voting. They are the ones who patiently help voters get through the election process. They do everything from helping voters sign in to assisting with ballot box problems.
Such a volunteer is Bruce West, a human resource manager at a software development firm in Calabasas. He’s been doing this for 20 years, 17 of them in Moorpark. His precinct is at the Active Adult Center.
West feels it’s important for him to participate as a volunteer in the election process.
“It’s community involvement and a civic responsibility,” he said, “to be a part of an election and selection of local leaders, state and national leaders, and to make sure the process is fair.”
For West, helping with elections puts him at the heart of his community.
“I like the interaction with people,” he said. “I get to know them as part of my community, and I feel patriotic when I do it.”
Stay tuned as Moorpark Patch brings you election results within the day.