Campus voters faced long lines at the Graduate Community Center (GCC) as hundreds cast their ballot in Tuesday’s election, which saw a defeat of California Propositions 19 and 23 and a shift in the House of Representatives to Republican control.
The GCC was the sole voting center on campus.
“We’ve been open since 7 and have had lines since then,” said election clerk Debra Dinatale on Tuesday afternoon.
Albert Tomasso ’14, a first-time Santa Clara county voter from Connecticut, said the large number of propositions and local measures made voting difficult.
“It seems like it’d be really easy to make mistakes,” Tomasso said. He had consulted Web references, but was “disappointed that campus publications only looked at the bigger propositions.”
Many voters were given provisional ballots if they were unsure of which county they were registered in and did not appear on the Santa Clara election roster, according to elections official Miriam Palm. These ballots are not immediately counted on Election Day, but are sent to San Jose for vetting. All ballots are required by law to be counted and processed within 28 days. If a voter who filled out the provisional ballot is registered in Santa Clara, his or her vote will be counted.
Provisional ballots from voters not registered in Santa Clara county, however, will not be counted. This measure is taken in order to ensure that voters are only counted once.
“It’s a failsafe against people getting counted twice,” Palm said. “We can’t be sure they didn’t vote in another county too.”
“Hundreds” of students filled out provisional ballots, Palm said, though some misunderstood that votes can only be cast within the voter’s registered county unless by mail.
“There was one guy earlier from Santa Monica,” Palm said. “His vote’s just not going to count.”
According to the Santa Clara County voter registrar early Wednesday morning, county turnout was about 39 percent.
The following is a summary of key election results as of press time.
Santa Clara Voters Approve Bonds, Parcel Taxes
Santa Clara County Measure A received the necessary two thirds of votes to pass. The measure imposes a 10-year, $29 tax on parcels in the county and will generate an estimated $14 million in funds to support the county’s “Healthy Kids” program, which provides subsidized health insurance for low-income children.
Voters also approved Measure B, which adds $10 to fees associated with registering a vehicle in Santa Clara County. Funds generated from this fee increase will go toward repairing and maintaining local streets and improving traffic flow.
Both Santa Clara County Measure E, which establishes a parcel tax to support Foothill and De Anza community colleges, and Measure G, a bond measure allowing San Jose City College and Evergreen College to borrow $268 million, passed. California community colleges have suffered large budget cuts in California’s ongoing budget crisis. De Anza College, serving roughly 22,000 students each year, is the largest community college in the area.
Funding Props Pass, Marijuana Fails
Proposition 19, a ballot initiative that would have made California the first state to legalize and tax recreational marijuana consumption and production, failed.
Proposition 23 was also voted down. The proposition would have suspended AB 32, an act requiring California to reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, until the state employment rate dropped to or below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.
Voters rejected one tax-related initiative: Proposition 24, which would eliminate three business taxes. Proposition 26, which would require a two-thirds supermajority vote in the legislature to pass certain state or local fees, passed.
Proposition 21, which would have increased vehicle license fees by $18 to fund state parks, failed. California state parks have faced the threat of reduced funding and closure in previous years due to statewide budget cuts.
Proposition 27, which would return the task of redistricting to the California legislature, failed to pass, while Proposition 20, which allows congressional district lines to be redrawn by a committee, passed.
The residents of a state riddled by years of budget crises and stalled state budgets also voted to allow budget and related legislation to be passed with a simple majority, rather than the current two-thirds majority, through Proposition 25. Voters also approved Proposition 22, which prohibits state government from taking designated types of local funds.
Strong GOP Showing Nationwide
The Republican Party had a strong showing nationwide Tuesday night as it gained at least 60 seats in the House. Local incumbents Mike Honda, Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, all Democrats, were re-elected.
Though the GOP gained six seats in the Senate, the Democrats held control of the Senate with at least 51 seats. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer beat Republican rival Carly Fiorina ‘76 in California to retain her seat, while longtime Sen. Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, lost to Republican challenger Ron Johnson. Despite facing intense criticism for his support of Obama’s agenda and predictions of failure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, won re-election. In Florida, Republican candidate Marco Rubio won, beating former Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran as an independent, and Democrat Kendrick Meek.
The GOP took the governor’s mansion in 10 states. As of press time, two potential Democrat pickups, Oregon and Connecticut, remained too close to call. In New York, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, beat Republican opponent Carl Paladino by a 30-point lead.
California saw Democrats return to Sacramento as Attorney General Jerry Brown beatformer eBay CEO Meg Whitman after a long, nationally scrutinized campaign. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, won the lieutenant governor’s race, defeating Republican incumbent Abel Maldonado.