Valley News -

By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

Long awaited election results reveal instant gratification is not always the best


Last updated 12/14/2018 at 5:08am

It’s been a long four weeks.

Twice a week since election night I have spent time checking results on the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website. I watched as the number of provisional and mail in ballots waiting to be counted decreased slowly, but surely.

I watched and waited, hoping to see the results I wanted for those races that affected me personally and those that affect every Valley News reader.

As the deadline to submit the county election results to the state began to loom close, I began to worry as I saw nearly 40,000 votes waiting to be counted with only 5 days to go. I thought to myself, there is no way they will get these all done in time. But thanks to the efforts of the staff at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters office, the tedious work was finished with all votes counted.

Throughout this year’s vote counting process, I found myself wondering what was happening. Why was it taking so long? I mean, you hear these horror stories of votes counted late changing the outcome of an election, usually from places like Broward County, Florida, but I never paid much attention to that here.

However, as the deadline approached, I started looking closer at votes left to be counted and those local races that could have been affected depending on where those votes were from.

I found that other than the race for Riverside County Sheriff, every race that affected our readers could have a different outcome, all depending on those ballots waiting to be counted.

Every city council, every tax measure and every school district could have seen a change in who would win depending on those 11,000 votes that remained to be counted on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Maryann Edwards won her Temecula City Council District 3 seat by 756 votes, In Menifee, Dean Deines narrowly defeated Gloria Sanchez by a mere 92 votes for the District 4 seat. Murrieta’s Measure T was approved by just under 1,700 votes. What if those votes waiting to be counted affected those and other races?

I had been growing weary of election coverage, but this realization, that just a handful of those 11,000 remaining votes could have changed the outcome of many elections, got me over the slump of a long, drawn-out vote count. I got excited thinking of the possibilities of how that small number of votes could change our local government as we know it.

When I checked the final results, I was a little disappointed to see that there was nothing shocking, I mean who doesn’t like a good upset? But then I felt relief that there were no huge surprises, and those races I cared about came out the way I had hoped, with the exception of one, which I refuse to name.

As I sit back and reflect upon the process that is our election system, I was reminded that in this society of instant gratification, our elections can emphasize that not everything can, or should be, instantly available.

Yes, I was frustrated at how long things were taking, but, I would rather have it take longer and be done right than for someone to rush through those votes and possibly make a mistake.

In this world, where a wealth of news and information is readily available with the click of a mouse, we as journalists are always rushing to get information disseminated to our readers. But this election cycle served up a great reminder for me that accuracy is sometimes more important than speed.

But, hey, it’s only my opinion.

Kim Harris can be reached at [email protected]


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