Voters forced to wing it in EQSD board election
What if they held an election and nobody knew anything about the candidates?
Customers of the East Quincy Services District might be able to answer that question next week.
To their credit, as of Oct. 28, voters in East Quincy had returned 337 of the 1,508 ballots that were mailed out Oct. 11.
Those ballots were returned despite voters having virtually no printed information about the five candidates running for the board of directors, other than their names and occupations.
None of the candidates advertised or included a statement on the sample ballot.
“A lot of people have contacted us and said, ‘What did you forget to put in the ballot?’” Plumas County Clerk-Recorder Kathy Williams said. “I have to tell them we didn’t forget anything. None of the candidates submitted a candidate statement.”
The five people vying for the three four-year seats include incumbents Ernest R. Eaton Jr., Stephen Grant and Greg Margason.
Two people seeking to unseat the incumbents are former EQSD general manager Mary Henrici and Quincy Community Services District water/wastewater operator Michael T. Green.
Williams said she’s surprised by the number of calls her office has received from East Quincy voters. But she said she understands why they are calling.
“In my 24 years, this is the first time (none of the candidates) filed information with us for an election of this size,” Williams said.
The candidates gave various reasons for not providing information.
Henrici, who is the general manager for the Rio Linda/Elverta Community Water District but still owns a home in East Quincy and is registered to vote in Plumas County, said it was a matter of time.
“It wasn’t a conscious decision not to do it,” Henrici said. “I came in and filed on the last day and didn’t have time to put anything together.”
Grant said he didn’t think he needed to provide information “because most of the time nobody has run against me.”
Only Margason and Green mentioned the money. It costs $250 to include a statement on the sample ballot.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel there was any reason to spend the $250,” Green said. “I think a lot of people already know who I am. And it says on the ballot that I’m a water/wastewater operator. I think that makes me more qualified than most of (the current) board members.”
None of the three current board members listed themselves as incumbents on the ballot. Providing that information wouldn’t have cost anything.
Their reasons for not providing that information ranged from assuming it would automatically be included, to a misunderstanding when filling out the paperwork. They said they didn’t purposely omit that information.
Voters have been resourceful in their efforts to make an informed decision. Many already know some of the candidates. One voter said she went to the EQSD office to find out who the incumbents were.
Williams said voters who haven’t already mailed their ballots could deliver them to her office.
“Postmarks don’t count (for beating the deadline),” Williams said. “Our office will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8), just as a polling place would be.”