Early returns: Everything’s running smoothly
November 8, 2016
One thing's clear early on Election Day: Voting in Nevada County is going much smoother than it is in parts of the East Coast.
"I'm very pleased," Nevada County registrar of voters Greg Diaz said. "It's good news, especially compared to the news back East, where I understand there are long, long lines. Lines here at the Rood Center (county election office), we'll have 20 people in line for 15 minutes, and the next 15 minutes we'll have two people in line."
According to Diaz, everything is running smoothly as a result of preparation.
"Turnout is high," he said. "There's not much telephonic traffic from the polls, so that's a good sign… I really don't have too many concerns. My whole thing is, we prepare.
"Preparation is 99 percent of an election," he added. "We prepare and then we prepare again. Things get proofed and then they get proofed again. I make sure everyone has a confident feeling about going into elections, so we're positive, positive, positive, training, training, training."
Preparation has prevented the problems that plagued the June primaries, when computer issues created delays at some voting locations.
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"It's definitely going a lot smoother than June," said Jessika Rosenkind, an inspector at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building on South Auburn Street. "In June the software wasn't up and running, so it was really hard to get everybody checked in. Today, everybody seems really happy. No major issues."
"Today's going much smoother everywhere," Diaz said. "All those problems have been ironed out."
Grass Valley resident Erin Redman, a proud Trump supporter, says she takes the process seriously and votes in every election. She did plenty of preparation prior to Election Day, then spent time Tuesday fine-tuning her ballot on one of the Veterans Memorial Building tables before stepping behind the curtains.
"I make sure to be prepared," she said. "We vote every time. It's a little different this time considering who we're voting for. It's going to be interesting."
Redman said voting this year has been a headache-free experience.
"The process has gone great," she said. "They make it really easy around here. "
Some of those voting on Tuesday are doing so for the first time. Election Day, however, is not only a milestone for first-time voters. Many locals are volunteering for the first time.
Debbie Lange, a precinct judge at the Veterans Memorial Building, said getting involved was important to her.
"We're making sure everyone gets their right to vote, and that's the reason I did it," she said. "I really wanted to see the other side of the spectrum. You always see the political side. I wanted to see the side where these people are exercising their right to vote."
Mick Collins, a field election deputy, spent Tuesday morning rotating between four voting locations, helping volunteers in multiple capacities.
"I basically help poll workers trouble-shoot," Collins said. "If people need supplies, things going wrong with the equipment. Everything's gone smoothly so far. A couple minor hiccups. The Bluetooth wasn't connected to the little tablet printer, just minor things like that."
Not everyone getting involved on Election Day is voting. Fifth grade students from Grass Valley Charter School, just 100 yards north of the Veterans Memorial Building, flashed nonpartisan signs at passersby on South Auburn Street to encourage them to vote.
They then took a walk south to the voting location to see democracy in action.
"We've been studying our first case study, which has been on the campaign trail," teacher Sue Muir said. "We're learning about the election process, the presidency, how the electoral college works and all the components of it. We visited the Republican and Democratic offices in the county, we visited the mayor's office. We learned how the process works at the local level and we looked at the national level, and now we're wrapping it up today."
Muir, who planned the project with teaching partner Emma Samuels, said the idea is to get students inside the election process rather than sticking with books and tests.
"Part of our learning model is to really engage students in the learning process and get them excited about finding the real-world applications," she said. "These kids have been watching presidential debates on their own, not as a school assignment. I've had students watching the vice presidential debates. It was fascinating."