By Ellen Macdonald
During the Nevada County Fair and at the NC Democrat booth, Hilary Hodge, Grass
Valley City Council Woman and Nevada County Dem Central Committee was surprised at the large number of local Democrats she met who were unaware that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in our county. As a result, Hilary gave a talk at the September First Tuesday forum to educate the Nevada County electorate about voter registration not only for Nevada County but throughout the three districts that represent our area all the way to the Oregon border.
In a series of slides, voter registrations as provided by California Secretary of State’s office were listed by party for every county in each of the three districts (California State Senate, California State Assembly, and Congressional District 1) as seen in photo example above which is the data for California state Assembly District. Each district has a different make up of counties voting for the candidate in that district, so this slide will not look exactly like either the Congressional or the Senate district slides. (This difference is the result of gerrymandering of the whole state of California.) Unfortunately, my photos of the other 2 districts (state senate and congressional) are too blurry but generally the info can be summarized as follows – in all 3 districts registered Democrats make up roughly 28% to 30% of total number of voters while Republicans are 39% to 40%.
As Hilary explained on the surface this data is discouraging but there are actually a significant number of voters in all three districts who are registered as “NO Party Preference” or “Declined to State” who were not included in the Secretary of State data. As seen in photo of slide “Current Voter Statistics Nevada County” which does include these voters, the number (17,643) is more than half of registered Democrats and an even larger percentage than registered Republicans. While other counties in our voting districts will have varying numbers, this is a pool of voters that could really affect the outcome of an election.
Also, low voter turnout obviously effects the outcome of any election, and Democrats have historically been lax about voting in special elections and midterms. But Nevada County has improved in this area in better than average voter turnout for Democrats in the last two elections.
As Hilary pointed out, the real challenge for Democratic is in the rest of these districts and much of the focus needs to be on other counties. In that direction, we heard from Peter Minett, chair of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee who reported on his work with the other DCC chairs from our voting districts. This group has been meeting or consulting on a regular basis for a number of months now, working on strategies to address increasing voter registrations, increasing outreach to Democrats who don’t vote, and touching on no-party-preference voters.
This brief report is only a sketch of what Hilary, along with Eric Robins who did much of the data compilations and organization of the slides, worked hard to provide at this meeting. It is valuable information and Nevada County Democrats thank both she and Eric as well as Peter Minnett, for doing it.
Finally, there is another Assembly seat election on November 5th and this time we will see just two candidates, Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt and Republican Megan Dahle. In August Nevada County came out strong for Elizabeth. The only reason Elizabeth could lose here in November would be Democrats not voting. So please remember to get your ballots in by end of the day November 5th!!!