Election Day turnout strains paper ballots in Roseville

Voters turn out to vote for president, council members, measures
By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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From the president to statewide propositions, myriad issues brought Roseville voters to the polls Tuesday, causing a few voting centers to use their electronic voting machines as paper ballots ran thin.

Ed Mothershed has cast his ballot several times at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Royer Park during his 15 years living in Roseville — but he’s never seen foot traffic for voting like he did this morning.

“I might have to come back later,” Mothershed joked. “I’ve never seen so many people crowding into this place.”

Election volunteers for the precinct at the Veterans Memorial Hall confirmed a steady flow of residents all morning. More than 150 voters had cast their ballots by 10:15 at that location, with no sign of the line slowing down.

For Mothershed, voting ‘no’ on Proposition 32 — a controversial campaign finance bill — was a motivating factor.

“That and the presidential election are all I’m really interested in,” he said.

Election action was also in full swing at the Placer County Fairgrounds, where 19-year-old volunteer Eric Stephens was enjoying the morning.

“This is my third time coming out to work at a precinct,” Stephens said. “Mostly what I’m doing is helping out wherever they need me and making sure everyone knows how to vote.”

Thelma Smith, a 27-year Roseville resident, managed to cast her ballot without asking any questions from the volunteers. For Smith, Proposition 37, which involves the labeling of genetically modified food, was a big factor in getting her to the polls.

“That proposition was something that I thought was a good idea at first,” Smith said, “but then when I read up more about it, I decided I was going to vote ‘no’ instead.”

Across town, 24-year-old voter Kelly Baumann came to a different conclusion on Prop. 37 as she cast a ‘yes’ vote at the Martha Riley Community Library.

“I’m a big supporter of it,” she said. “I want to know what’s in my food, even if it costs more.”

When it came to the presidency, Baumann cast her vote with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Baumann explained that Johnson needs to win 5 percent of the overall vote to force the American political establishment to recognize a three-party system, rather than a Democratic-Republican only landscape.

“Right now Johnson is at 4.5 percent, so he’s close to getting there,” Baumann said. “It’s such a two-sided system right now. I really feel like we need a third perspective.”

Being a full-time college student, Baumann also characterized her ‘yes’ vote on Prop. 30 as a move that’s obviously the best choice for her own situation.

Connie Santos, who was also voting at the Martha Riley Community Library, counted herself as a Prop. 30 supporter as well.

“My kids are out of public school, but two of them are still in college,” Santo said. “I’ve talked to them about how important the Prop. 30 vote is.”

Santos cast her presidential vote for Mitt Romney, though acknowledged that, living in California, she doubted that particular vote really mattered.

“I don’t really think it counts,” she said. “But I still vote anyway.”

Roseville resident Daniella Miranda’s vote went to President Barack Obama.

“I think it takes a long time to see change happen,” she said. “I think the president has done a great job with the problems he was given. I’m happy with his performance.”

While Miranda cast her vote in the opposite direction as Santos for president, she found common ground on the ‘yes’ vote for Prop. 30.

“We’ve just had so many cuts to our schools,” Miranda observed. “I voted for Prop. 30 to make sure we get some money back into them.”

By the mid-afternoon, motorists on Douglas Boulevard near Granite Bay were seeing a familiar sight, though it had a slight twist. Disabled, street-side dancer Clifford Keys was stationed at the corner of Douglas and Sierra College Boulevard, decked out in campagn clothes for Eureka Union School Board candidates Renee Nash and Ryan Jones and waving hankerchiefs around a sign for the two school board hopefuls.

“They said they’d give me some money,” Keys told the Press Tribune. “And I’m appreciative of that, because I need the money.”

On Wednesday, Placer County Elections Official Ryan Ronco said turnout in Roseville was evident from the fact that extra ballots were driven out to several polling locations.

“There was never a situation where we ran out of ballots,” Ronco said, “because every precinct has electronic voting capacity. That said, we did drive more paper ballots down to some Roseville locations, as well as a few other precincts in Placer County. There were a lot of people who wanted to vote yesterday.”