Lonely night at the courthouse

But that doesn’t change the election results

Other than the election workers and the security guard at the front door, there were just two individuals in the Plumas County courthouse when the votes came in Nov. 6 — a Feather Publishing reporter and local radio host Ron Trumbo. Just minutes after the 8 p.m. state polls closed, Kathy Williams, the county’s chief elections official, handed the vote results to the two journalists present. There were no candidates, no Measure B proponents or opponents, no interested members of the public to let out a whoop of delight or a sigh of disappointment.

At least during the night of the June primary just a few months ago, there were individuals who wanted to see the process in action, and watched through the glass as the ballots were tabulated.

Last Tuesday was in such contrast to the elections of days gone by when crowds gathered in the courthouse lobby and waited for the latest results to be written on the giant chalkboard. Elections workers waited for the ballots to be driven to the courthouse from the county’s far-flung precincts. There was no internet by which to view the results, so Feather Publishing held its newspapers and the Wednesday morning headlines would herald the results. Often stories were written in advance with the numbers to be plugged in as they became available, but when we guessed wrong, the story would have to be edited as the press crew waited.

While those were stressful times with late nights, there was an electricity in the air that was distinctly missing last Tuesday evening. Just a radio man and a newspaper woman who have covered this process for decades, and a group of tired election workers who had helped an onslaught of last minute voters throughout the day, were around to see the results.

But despite the lack of drama in the courthouse, there were no doubt celebrations in living rooms across the county as the opponents of Measure B and the candidates for various local offices enjoyed their wins. And at the end of the day that is what the process is all about — letting the people decide what they want their city, county or country to look like and who will represent them.

The preliminary results are published and final figures are expected this Friday, Nov. 16, after the elections office has verified signatures of the ballots that remained to be counted. Maybe some results will change, maybe not. That fact too has added a little to the evening being a bit anticlimactic.

We would like to extend our congratulations to all of those individuals who had the courage to put their names on the ballot. This election drew candidates for races that sometimes go unchallenged. And congratulations go to last night’s winners who worked for their candidacy or their cause. Both sides of Measure B spent untold hours trying to get their message and their point of view out to the electorate. It was incredible to watch the level of passion and commitment exhibited.

Now it’s time to move on — for the newly elected to take their seats and deliver on their promises, and for the Board of Supervisors to act on commercial cannabis. And though we all deserve a moment to breath before we turn our attention to 2020, we should not be complacent. Let’s remain engaged in the process.

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