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Our Opinion: Give it a rest

April 03, 2002

There comes a time to give it a rest, for the good of the community.

The time has come in a couple political races in Imperial County. Partial recounts were done in the close District 5 county supervisor's race and the not particularly close county sheriff's race, and the results didn't change. Now that information is out there, it is time for those who supported candidates who did not triumph to get behind the person who was elected and do what is best for our county.

There is satisfaction in running a good, close race and getting the message of the candidacy to the populace. And there is always next time.

Imperial Irrigation District Division 3 candidate Ruben Garcia, who led after election night and lost by only a handful of votes when all the votes were tallied, might have had the best case to demand a recount, but he chose not to do so within the allotted amount of time. So Garcia, too, must live with the result. The toughest thing for Garcia might be that he is going to have to live with two minuscule losses for major positions in our county in the last few years, as he was involved in a similar nip and tuck scenario four years ago in his race for county supervisor.

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There seems to be some genuine concern about the electoral process in Imperial County, concern that we share here. Dolores Provencio, the head of elections in Imperial County, appears to be a nice person and to genuinely care about doing a good job, but each election, it seems, there are controversies about missing ballots, ballot boxes not appearing to be counted in sensible amount of time, voters being wrongly turned away and other voting messes. Maybe controversy is inherent in our tumultuous politics in Imperial County, but it always seems county officials could have done a better job in preparing for voting.

For example, in March the county was searching for a great many poll workers in the hours before the voting, so we strongly doubt that all those people were properly trained. A campaign manager who paid for a recount seemed to pose that question of whether poll workers were telling voters, as they were obligated to do, that they were supposed to flip ballots in order to vote on both sides. Too many people did not vote on both sides of the ballot, and while we are quite convinced that wouldn't have changed the final results in the affected races, it is not good for our democracy for such screw-ups to happen.

We always wish and hope for trouble-free elections in Imperial County, but that never seems to happen.

Maybe it is time to take actions to make sure we have elections in which we can have absolute certainty in the results. That way we can move past weeks of questions and quickly get on with our community's business.

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