There is a good chance that you have voted already – the registrar of voters expects at least half of all ballots, perhaps many more, will have been cast in advance by the time Election Day, June 5, arrives.
But if you have not voted yet, please do so. There is so much at stake, and your main chance to affect policy and government at the local, state, and even national level is with your ballot.
Locally, voters are being asked to decide the fate of Measure C, which would limit when and how oak trees could be removed in the sprawling “Ag Watershed” zoning district, and Measure D, which would ban private heliports and airstrips in most of the county. Voters will also be asked to choose a supervisor for the huge Third District, which covers most of the county land outside of the incorporated towns and cities.
Regionally, voters will be asked whether to gradually hike tolls on all the area’s bridges, except the Golden Gate, by $3 to fund a wide variety of transportation projects.
At the state level, this election will decide the lineup of candidates for the top positions – governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and a host of others. With the retirement of Gov. Jerry Brown, a dominant presence in the state for nearly half a century, California is at a historic turning point. The votes cast in this election will decide what the next generation of leadership looks like.
Also at the state level, voters will decide on a number of ballot measures, including a bond measure for various parks and recreation facilities, and some technical issues, including how and when future ballot measures go into effect and whether installing a rain-capture system to conserve water triggers a property reassessment or not.
At the national level, voters are asked to pick a U.S. senator and a member of the House of Representatives. Votes cast in the June primary will decide the finalists for the November ballot.
We will not rehash the arguments for or against any of these candidates or ballot measures – enough has been said over the frenzied six or eight weeks leading to this point. Chances are most minds are made up by now anyway.
What we do urge you to do is to vote. This is your chance to speak up. If you do not cast your ballot by June 5, others will decide these important issues for you.
If you have already voted, we recommend that you check whether your ballot has been received and processed. Napa County is one of five counties in the state experimenting with an all-mail vote this year and it is important for us to verify that the system is working properly. You may check your ballot at services.countyofnapa.org/VoterInfo.
If you’re still undecided on any of the key issues or candidates, we urge you to check out the state and local voter guides, which list all the candidates for all the offices, along with their biographies and formal campaign statements, and also list the official arguments for and against the state and local ballot measures.
The local voter guide is available under “Current Election” at countyofnapa.org/396/Elections.
The state and federal voter guide is available at voterguide.sos.ca.gov.
No matter what candidates you support, no matter where you stand on the divisive issues on the ballot, we urge you to take advantage of our most precious right: to govern ourselves by voting.