The turnout was dismal in Three Rivers during Tuesday’s (June 3) primary election; only about 125 had voted at the Three Rivers Memorial Building by 5 p.m. Throughout the state, just 23 percent of registered voters took advantage of their right to cast a ballot, which may be a record low after all votes are counted.
Voter turnout in the United States fluctuates in national elections, but has never risen to levels of most other well-established democracies. In countries with compulsory voting, like Australia, Belgium, and Chile, voter turnout hovered near 90 percent in the past decade. Other countries, like Austria, Sweden, and Italy, experienced turnout rates near 80 percent.
There is a political disengagement in the U.S., however, with about 60 percent of the voting-eligible population casting a ballot during presidential election years and about 40 percent during midterm elections.
‘Top two primary’
Tuesday’s primary was a test of California’s “top-two” primary system, which is aimed at curbing entrenched partisanship in state politics. The top-two system was approved by voters four years ago and took effect in June 2012.
All candidates for statewide office or Congress are listed on a single primary-election ballot. The top two candidates, as determined by the voters and regardless of party, advance to the general election in November.
It does not matter if one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast. The top two vote-getters always advance to the general election.
It does not matter if both candidates are from the same political party. The top two will appear on the general election ballot.
The top two primary does not apply to elections for president and vice president or county “party nominated” offices.
Tulare County offices
Sheriff-Coroner— Mike Boudreaux will remain in Tulare County law enforcement’s top spot where he was previously acting sheriff, decisively beating Dave Whaley with 72.3 percent of the vote.
District Attorney— In what was a closer race, Tim Ward will remain as D.A. after emerging victorious over Ralph Kaelble, 55.65 to 44.04 percent.
Governor— Jerry Brown (Democrat), current governor, received 54.5 percent of the vote and will face off in November against Neel Kashkari, a Republican who received 19.1 percent of votes.
Lieutenant Governor— Gavin Newsom (D), current lieutenant governor, 49.9; Ron Nehring (R), 23.2.
Secretary of State— Debra Bowen will be stepping down, so the candidates will be Alex Padilla (D), 30.1; and Pete Peterson (R), 29.6.
State Controller— Ashley Swearingen (R), current Fresno mayor, 24.4; John A. Perez (D), 21.7.
State Treasurer— John Chiang (D), incumbent, 55.5; Greg Conlon (R), 38.4.
Attorney General— Kamala Harris (D), incumbent, 53.1; Ronald Gold (R), 12.7.
Insurance Commissioner— Dave Jones (D), incumbent, 53.1; Ted Gaines (R), 41.6.
State Senator— Currently, California’s 18th Senate District – represented by Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield – covers most of Tulare County, including Three Rivers. However, after the November 2014 general election, Three Rivers – as well as Elderwood and Badger – will become part of the 8th Senate District, which is currently represented by Leland Ye, D-San Francisco. Because Le will leave the Senate at the end of this year due to term limits, there are two newcomers on the ballot: Tom Berryhill (R), who received 64.4 percent of the vote, and Paulina Miranda (D), 35.6.
And more results
Kevin McCarthy, who represents Three Rivers in Congress’s 23rd District, ran unopposed.
A couple of other notable elections that have some local interest include the 21st District Congress that had David Valadao (R), incumbent, facing off against two Democrats. Although Valadao received 64.2 percent of the vote, challenger Amanda Renteria, with 24.5 percent of the vote, will advance to the November election. Amanda is a 1992 graduate of Woodlake High School, where she was a standout student, athlete, and valedictorian of her class. She received her undergraduate degree at Stanford, an MBA from Harvard, and has worked for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The 21st District covers parts of Tulare, Kings, Kern, and Fresno counties. Amanda resides in Sanger with her husband and two young sons.
In the State Assembly’s 26th District, current mayor of Woodlake and WHS Class of 1993 alum Rudy Mendoza (R) held his own in his bid for Connie Conway’s (R-Tulare) vacated seat, receiving 38.6 percent of the vote. Rudy, who resides in Woodlake with his wife and three children and serves as district director for Representative Devin Nunes (R-Congress 22nd District), will go up against another Republican, Devon Mathis (21.1), in November.
And California will remain intact for now, as two out of three secession measures were defeated in a bid to create the country’s 51st state: Jefferson. Elected officials in California’s most northern counties — Yuba, Siskiyou, Glenn, and Modoc — have already voted to join a new state, citing they are tired of being ignored by California’s leaders. This secession has been discussed for more than a century.
Proposition 41— The Veterans House and Homeless Bond Act of 2014 passed with 65.4 percent of the vote
Proposition 42— The Public Records and Open Meetings Act passed with 61.5 percent of the vote.