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By Diana Diamond

Post-election reflections -- and sponges

Uploaded: Nov 8, 2018

Let’s talk local. In the five-candidate Palo Alto City Council race, Alison Cormack was the big winner. She campaigned actively, sent out fliers and ran lots of ads, had a distinctive logo, raised lots of money, and smiled a lot, so it’s no surprise that she won in a big way. The surprise, to me, was the $36,000 she received from Innovation for Everyone, co-founded by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s President and CEO Carl Guardino, based in San Jose, and the California Apartment Association Housing Solutions Committee, a statewide organization with an office in San Jose. I am puzzled why these two outside groups decided to finance Cormack’s $67,000 campaign chest (as of Oct. 20). Cory Wolbach’s campaign focused much more on housing than Cormack’s did.

So on our new seven-member council (down from nine), winner Eric Filseth and Tom Dubois are slow growthers, as well as Lydia Kou, while the growth group is Mayor Liz Kniss, and council members Adrian Fine and Greg Tanaka. Cormack said at one event she is slow-growther -- but she acts like a growth person, and had the support of growthers Kniss, Fine and Greg Scharff (who is termed out). It will be interesting to see where Cormack really stands when she sits on the council.

Sixty-five percent (574,000) of Santa Clara County voters cast their ballots this year, which is wonderful. Usually at midterm elections, we’ve had a 25 to 35 percent turnout. This time everyone was talking about Trump, how important this election was, the terrible Congressional polarization, and it was great to see so many get so involved, although locally, we had no big controversies. This was an important election, but the 2020 election will be critical and of course there will be a huge outpouring two years from now.

Unfortunately, as of Thursday midday, Santa Clara County still had 270,000 absentee votes to count. I sent in my ballot a week before Nov. 6, so presumably it was among the 304,000 already counted. I started voting absentee a couple of years ago and I love it, but it’s disappointing to know many of our votes have not even been counted yet. We’ve got to speed up the counting.

One 2020 problem will be a longer ballot with more offices to vote for. This time we had 43 measures on our local ballots; 2020 will probably see 60 or so. I heard some say as they got near the end of the ballot this year, they simply gave up and didn’t vote for local races. That’s not good.

One NYT letter writer said Thursday that she can order a sponge online and get it delivered three hours later with a printed receipt, but election results still take days to tally and we get no receipt Why can this country be so good about sponges but so bad about quick election results?

Years ago France held national elections on two days over a weekend. That system would make it easier for people to get to the polls without missing work, and the results could be counted each day. But surely someone in our country must be bright enough to figure out how get rid of old voting machines that break down, how to eliminate long voting lines around the country and inadequate polling places, and how to create a more advanced ballot counting system.

Any ideas?

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