Nevada County turns out for election day
“C’mon, we’re going to save our country,” Josh Fowler said to a friend as he approached the Eric Rood Administrative Center to vote.
For him, saving the country meant voting against Joe Biden.
“I’m normally nonpartisan,” Fowler said, “but I don’t see Biden as competent enough to run the country. Sometimes he can’t even speak and I don’t think we should have that.”
The site was one of several venues in the county where citizens could cast their ballots on a host of local offices and measures, as well as who they wanted for president.
George Wagner, who also voted at the administrative center, said he suspects the record breaking voter turnout prior to election day — around 70% of Nevada County voters — may have been why his in-person voting experience was easy. Wagner said he would have voted regardless of the wait, had there been one, but his concerns about COVID-19 were allayed by lack of crowds.
“I didn’t have to wait in a line,” Wagner said.
The administrative center opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday, said citizen poll observer and Nevada City resident Barbara DeHart.
“There hasn’t been much of a line,” DeHart said, “but it’s been a steady stream.”
Wagner said he has a “spiritual conviction” about fulfilling his civic duty via voting.
“It’s such a responsibility, honor and privilege of every American to do our part in this beautiful country we live in,” Wagner said. “The biggest issue for me is apathy. I don’t care what side you’re on. There are so many issues to address.”
Nevada County resident Fran Vyverberg said she feels a similar sense of obligation as the daughter of a World War II Navy veteran who graduated from UC Berkeley.
“I was blessed to be raised around beautiful people who have done arresting things,” Vyverberg said. “I understand (voting) as a foundation to speak my truth. I’m here for all of mankind. We need the truth.”
For Vyverberg, the truth will be found in the middle of the road.
“We need peace, calm and simple acceptance,” Vyverberg said. “It’s up to us to be responsible for our feelings about the outcome of this election.”
Lynx Hazen, who voted at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, is one Nevada County resident who showed up at the polls on election day after her mail-in ballot was delivered to a previous address.
Hazen said casting her vote is just one way she lives a multi-faceted value system that guides her daily decisions.
“You do what you can in your personal life,” Hazen said. “This is a place to have at least a tiny voice.”
Grass Valley resident Jenn Malmstead said she has voted in every election possible since she was 18 years old. She said she was grateful the resources and voting team at the Gold Miners Inn ballroom were well organized, because they met the needs of growing voter participation.
“The voting process was a lot different than four years ago when there were lines of people,” the 42-year-old Malmstead said.
Malmstead said she wrote a graduate thesis on young people’s lack of participation in national elections in 2003.
“Now, a lot of young people are showing up and dynamics are changing,” Malmstead said.
Malmstead said the American people may not all think the same, but elections are a real opportunity to exercise their civic duty and promote their political ideals.
Michelle Salvatore, who also voted at the Gold Miners Inn, said she usually votes on election day and participates regularly “to preserve the Constitution.”
“It’s exciting,” Salvatore said. “I just want (Donald) Trump to win.”
Isaac Marc showed up at the Grass Valley hotel in part to cast a vote on the measure that would tax local cannabis businesses.
Marc and his partner Melody Finav said they were concerned about voter intimidation, but were grateful that all electioneering took place away from the polling premises.
“I’m grateful that there were no truck caravans,” Marc said.
Marc said he was not sure what to expect Tuesday night, but will stand up for his values regardless of the election’s results.
“I’m nervous about the outcome,” Marc said, “but I’ll continue to fight for what I believe in.”
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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