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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Crunching election numbers

Uploaded: Dec 20, 2012
As fall finishes today and winter dawns, there are some interesting numbers looking back to the November general election.
For instance, consider the countywide vote to double the half-cent sales tax for transportation and make it permanent.
The measure won a majority or better vote in every community in Alameda County with the notable exception of Pleasanton and Livermore. Voters in both cities rejected the measure by 52-47 margins. Measure B1 required a two-thirds vote and barely failed at 66.53 percent.
For contrast, Measure B received 55 percent of the vote in Dublin meaning the Livermore Valley cities collectively doomed the measure. It received 81 percent of the vote in Berkeley and 76 percent in Oakland.
When it came to the presidential election, it didn't matter what city, it was only the margin that varied as President Obama easily carried every city. He had the biggest percentage margin in Dublin, pulling in 11,016 votes to 5,484 for Mitt Romney.
The numbers in Pleasanton were 19,175 to 13,240, while Livermore supported the president 20,058 to 13,240.
In the hotly contested 15th Congressional District, Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell won the three Livermore Valley cities by wide margins and then built up a 2,000-vote margin in Castro Valley and other unincorporated areas there. Swalwell won his hometown 9,281 to 5,482; Livermore 20,537 to 11,053; and Pleasanton 18,779 to 10,265. The shift of Stark's district, which he had held since 1972, to include the Livermore Valley made the difference because the incumbent carried Fremont, Hayward and Union City.
Livermore joined the parade of cities and school districts that have consolidated their elections with the general elections—it saves a good chunk of money, but it results in both a long ballot and higher turnout, particularly during the presidential years.
For instance, in Livermore, voters put Tom McLaughlin back on the school board. Tom, like the defeated Stark, has celebrated his 80th birthday and previously was a school trustee. His chief qualification—retired school teacher. He received 31 percent of the vote, while incumbent trustee Chuck Rogge won re-election with 29 percent and appointed trustee Belia Martinez trailed at 24.
One additional election note: ballots cast by mail totaled 41 percent of registered voters, while 33 percent were cast on Election Day. For campaign professionals, that means turnout is still critical, but the voting period now is a month so it means the barrage of media ads will continue to stretch even longer.

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