The OTHER Recall Election Results

District Attorney Jill Ravitch

So Gavin Newsom “survived” the recall election. Hmm, when a Repugnicant wins an election with 65% of the electorate in their favor the national media call it a landslide. When a Democrat does the same they “survive”.

So much for the so-called liberal media bias.

I wrote back in July about the OTHER recall we had going here in Sonoma County, that of our outgoing District Attorney. Jill Ravitch had all of nine months left in her term and had already announced she was not going to seek another one when the petitions, funded completely by one millionaire land developer she went after for abandoning senior citizens he was responsible for during a raging firestorm, went out to recall her. Read that article to get all the details.

You’ll be happy to hear (at least I was) that Ravitch “survived” her recall election. Is there another word to describe getting 80% of the electorate in your favor? Maybe the no longer failing New York Times can chirp in with the proper adjective. Yeah, 80% in her favor. I’ve seen elections where someone was running unopposed and didn’t get 80%.

A deeper dive into the numbers showed something even more interesting. In Sonoma County Newsom won his recall with 78% of the vote — 112,264 to 31,939. Ravitch won as previously mentioned with 80% of the vote — 101,269 to 25,400. She actually did better than Newsom, though not by that much. But add those totals up. There were literally just two questions on the ballot, the two recalls. Why did 17,534 people vote in the governor recall, but didn’t vote on the DA recall?

For that we need to look at the actual physical ballot. No, there were no hanging chads, this wasn’t a butterfly ballot of any sort, this was just a straight ahead regular old fill in the bubble with a blue or black pen ballot. Except for one thing.

While the governor recall, because of the extraordinary amount of potential replacements named, took up the entire of one page of the ballot, the DA recall was placed not on a second page, but on the back of the first page. In other words, you had to turn the page over in order to vote on the DA recall. And since no one signed up to be on the ballot as a potential replacement, the entirety of the back side of the ballot took up less space than the space this paragraph is taking.

17,534 people flat out DIDN’T NOTICE the DA election was happening at the same time. Wow, how did that happen? I mean it’s only been all over the local news since last June. But then again here is the sum total of the advertising the No D.A. Recall folks did for this election:

No D.A. Recall Poster

Notice something missing from this poster? That’s right, no where on it does it mention what day the recall election was taking place. In big giant lettering we are told who’s paying for it, but it never mentions the election is the same day as the OTHER recall election. Now yes, 126,669 citizens DID turn the ballot over and vote in the D.A. recall election, but the fact that 17,534 DIDN’T should worry not just educators and good government folks, but the Democratic Party as well.

I can’t be certain all of those 17,534 people would have voted to retain Ms. Ravitch, but if the percentages hold then a little over 14,000 presumably Democratic voters didn’t vote for her. In an 80-20 landslide (there I said it) it didn’t matter. But in a close election, say an election for a congressman or a senator or yeah even a president, those 14,000 votes might make a big difference.

It was an operational error that the No D.A. Recall folks didn’t add the date of the election. I’m sure they thought it was no big deal because everybody knew the two recalls were at the same time. Well apparently not everybody knew. And to have allowed the D.A. recall question to be placed on the back of the much more widely known governor recall was just plain old sloppy politics. Let me suggest it was more important in Sonoma County that the two recall questions be on the front of the ballot and the Tower of Babel list of replacement names should have been on the back.

The Democratic Party moans about how their message doesn’t get through and that’s why they need more money to get that message out. But even if you get the money, if you don’t do the little basic operational things, like having the date of the election on your advertising, then all that money has gone to waste. If you don’t fight to make sure the race you care about is on the front of the ballot and not segregated to the back of the bus..er..ballot that race is going to be overlooked. And all the money in the world won’t make a difference if people don’t vote for your candidate because they don’t know the race is even happening.

We say in my world that operations is nothing but details. I think it can be said for the world of politics that the details are the difference between winning and losing.

They got a name for the winners in the world.

Shapiro Out

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