Voting Changes in Nevada County
In 2014, California voter participation hit a historical low when only 31 percent of eligible citizens cast a ballot in the general election, ranking our state 43rd in voter participation. In response to this ongoing lull the California legislature passed Senate Bill 450, also known as the Voter’s Choice Act, and Nevada County will be one of five counties in the state to pilot the changes proposed.
Beginning this year, every registered voter in Nevada County will receive an election information guide to be mailed on April 26 and an official ballot sent on May 7. Voters will have the option of sending in their ballot by mail or dropping it in one of the public drop boxes in the county. In Truckee, these drop boxes will be located at Town Hall and SaveMart.
If citizens would prefer to vote in person, or if they lose their ballot, they will have the option to visit one of the new voting centers to complete their civic duty.
Town Hall will be open for voting and questions for 11 days running up to election day, Tuesday, June 6. The other voting center in Truckee is at the Family Resource Center and will be open for 4 days leading up to election day.
Many former neighborhood polling places in Nevada County will not be open.
“The rationale for the bill is to increase voter participation, says Nevada County Registrar Greg Diaz. “We have data from different states, including Oregon, Washington and Colorado, that if you mail the ballot to every registered voter, it does increase participation.”
“I’m really encouraging people [to] fill out your ballot and send it by mail,” says Diaz. “[My office] is paying for the postage. If you want something else or you don’t trust the mail, that’s what the drop boxes and voting centers are for.”
Nevada County received $15,000 to help implement this pilot program, but Diaz says it will save over $1 million when new voting machines are introduced because the number of polling places has been reduced from 49 to seven.
Three Truckee Town Council Seats Up for Grabs
There will be three town council seats in Truckee in the running this November.
According to Town Clerk Judy Price, applicants must be must be nominated, and twenty signatures minimum are required on potential candidates’ petitions.
Registration to run for these seats will be open between July 16 and August 10.
Councilman Morgan Goodwin confirmed that he plans to run for reelection this year on an agenda that includes climate change action, affordable housing, and economic development for the region.
“I think I’ve brought a lot of energy to the council,” says 33-year-old Goodwin. “Even though there’s a lot more work to do I’m really proud of the focus that we’ve put into housing and public transportation.”
Councilman Patrick Flora has confirmed that he will not be running for reelection this year.
Mayor Carolyn Dee is undecided as she is on extended medical leave.
“Quite frankly, the election is the furthest thing from my mind right now,” says Dee. “I wish I could be more definitive than that, but my focus is truly somewhere else at the moment.”
Vice Mayor David Tirman and Jessica Abrams won their seats in an uncontested race in 2016 and will not be up for re-election until 2020.
“I hope for sake of Truckee that this year there will be more interest in the community and more candidates for those three open seats,” said Tirman.
For more information on running, visit townoftruckee.com/government/town-clerk/elections or call the Town Clerk office at (530) 582-2924.
Proposition 68 Advocates for Clean Water and Parks
A $4.1 billion bond to upgrade parks and make sure California water supply is clean and protected will be up for vote on June 6. Known as the Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, this bill is the work of a broad coalition of conservation groups looking to address funding gaps in the region.
$142 million of this bond would be earmarked specifically for the Sierra Nevada, says Kerri Timmer, vice president of Climate & Energy at Sierra Business Council.
“There are three pots of money,” said Timmer. “It would go to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, California Tahoe Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Board. Then those three state agencies and would distribute it from there to local agencies that apply for grants.”