Wed 7 Nov 2012
After months of preparation, Tuesday was, politically speaking, D-Day. For awhile it seemed that almost anything could happen.
Republican-controlled legislatures in several states had made it more difficult for minorities and the aged to vote. Voting was chaotic in Florida, where the period for early voting had been greatly shortened. On Sunday, so many people waited — often unsuccessfully — at the Miami-Dade elections office to cast absentee ballots that some of them had their cars towed from a parking lot across the street. Yet Republican Governor Rick Scott refused to extend the hours for early voting.
“Democrats are traditionally more likely to vote early, which is why many in the party have ascribed political motives to Scott’s restriction of the process. According to a report in The Miami Herald on Saturday, Democrats were leading Republicans ‘by about 187,000 early in-person ballots cast’ as of that morning,” the Huffington Post had noted a day earlier.
Meanwhile, blacks in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida were receiving robocalls that falsely informed them they could vote by phone.
D-Day in West Marin — Photography is not allowed in California’s polling places if it would intimidate anyone from voting. Fortunately when I showed up during a lull at the Point Reyes Station polls, both women marking their ballots told election workers they had no objection to being photographed.
Listening all Tuesday evening to reports from the front must have been far harder on our commander in chief than it was on those of us whose main responsibility was to photograph a bit of the event. The Rupert Murdoch-controlled Wall Street Journal was predicting that our fight was lost. Reports from battles for bunkers in the Senate sounded encouraging — not so good for advances in the House.
Barack Hussein Obama was leading in the Electoral College, but Willard Mitt Romney was temporarily ahead in the popular vote. Anything seemed possible. Television kept telling us the outcome in key states was still too close to call. Periodically I had to tune it all out just to clear my head.
One hundred twenty-four years of happiness. Malia, 14, Michelle, 48, Sasha, 11, and Barack Obama, 51, celebrate his reelection as the 44th President of the United States. New York Times photo.
Suddenly television showed Obama supporters in Chicago cheering. The fight was over, and the country for the moment was again safe. It hadn’t been Romney himself that had me worried as much as the rightwing fanatics with whom he is now allied. Can you imagine Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from the presidency?
Apparently Congressman Ryan had trouble imagining that too, for he kept on campaigning for his current seat in the House of Representatives while separately running for the Vice Presidency. He realized the likelihood of his being elected to serve as Vice President of the United States for four years was less certain than the likelihood of his being reelected to represent southeast Wisconsin in the House for two more years.
Democrat Dianne Feinstein, 79, (right), who has already represented California in the US Senate for 20 years, won easy reelection for another six.
Measure A, which had been supported in West Marin by Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), as well as many individual ranchers and conservationists, won countywide with 73.6 percent of the vote. The quarter-cent sales tax to support parks and open space needed a two-thirds majority.
Measure C, an eight-year extension of a $184.70 parcel tax to maintain and improve Shoreline School District, won with 76.8 percent of the vote. It also needed a two-thirds majority for passage.
Measure E, which would have authorized a $49 parcel tax in Bolinas for maintaining Mesa Park, lost despite getting 65.44 percent of the vote. It needed 66.66 percent for passage but fell short by 1.22 percent.
Measure F, which merely allows the Stinson Beach Fire Protection District to keep all the tax revenue it collects, won with 64.6 percent. It needed only a simple majority for passage.
Stinson Beach Water District elected three directors: Barbara Boucke, 239 votes (29.33 percent), Sandra Cross, 233 votes (28.59 percent), and Marius E. Nelsen, 195 votes (23.93 percent). The losers were: Terry Bryant, 78 votes (9.57 percent) and G. Scott Tye, 63 votes (7.73 percent).
House of Representatives: Democrat Jared Huffman appears well ahead of Republican Daniel Roberts, winning 76.59 percent to 23.41 percent in Marin County. That’s a 43,247-vote margin. The 2nd Congressional District runs from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, however, so results are not yet in from all northern counties.
State Assembly: Democrat Marc Levine beat Democrat Michael Allen by 2,131 votes in Marin County and trailed him by 468 votes in Sonoma County, giving Levine a 1,663-vote margin of victory.
There have been some odd returns around the country this election season. In August, residents of Jacksons’ Gap, Alabama, decisively reelected Mayor Janice Canham even though she had died in July. This week, Texans reelected State Senator Mario Gallegos, a Democrat, although he died last month. Likewise Iowans reelected State Senator Pat Ward, a Republican, even though she too had died in October.
These unlikely results will now, of course, necessitate special elections, but at least they stand as a testament to the popularity of the deceased incumbents. Thank God Obama not only won reelection but is alive and well in the White House.