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Unsettling observations from election aftermath

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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A week after polls closed at 8 p.m. Nov. 8, the contentious Presidential General Election continues to divide citizens throughout the country,  

Less than 12 hours after Donald Trump was declared the president-elect, demonstrations and protests sprung up throughout the United States and even abroad.

Students in high schools and colleges walked out of classes to show their distaste and fear of a Trump presidency. And middle-school children, parents and teachers, across the U.S. and even in Sacramento, cried last week in school, afraid that they would be made fun of or even deported.

Closer to home, while I was at the store last week, a woman lashed out at a cashier for five minutes because she questioned the bill. When she angrily walked out five minutes later, the woman next in line smugly told the cashier, “She must be having a bad day because Hillary lost.”

I was surprised at this assumption since neither woman knew each other.

Just like the national elections have divided candidates and citizens alike throughout the country, so has the local City Council election split Lincoln candidates and residents, although at a much quieter and much less intensive level.

Three Lincoln City Council incumbents ran for their seats, along with two women new to city government and Dan Karleskint, who is Lincoln’s Planning Commission chairman.

Early in the race, the political game-playing began when candidate Holly Woods-Andreatta reported on social media that she was contacted by a friend of another candidate. If she would drop out of the race, Woods-Andreatta indicated, there were three other candidates who would support her in the next City Council race.

The game-playing continued throughout election season, with residents walking door to door saying which candidates to avoid. Rumors and innuendos were made about candidates’ personal lives and business practices that were not true.   

The Lincoln City Council race for three seats currently has a 357-vote difference between the third-place vote-getter Dan Karleskint and fourth-place incumbent Spencer Short.

What many residents might not know is that the City Council race is still too close to call and officials results won’t be released until the Placer County Elections Division verifies all races, measures and propositions in the Presidential General Election.

By state law, the county elections division has 30 days from the Nov. 8 election to provide a final count. Placer County Elections Division officials say that they hope to finish their official results by Thanksgiving.

 “What we have yet to count, mathematically, there’s definitely the possibility of candidates switching positions that they have now,” said Placer County clerk-recorder-registrar of voters Ryan Ronco last Thursday. “We try to let the press know and candidates know on Nov. 8 that positions can change. We never know what will happen.”

In past county supervisor races, for example, election results have changed after the vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots were added to the precinct ballots, according to Ronco.

This shows the power of each ballot in smaller elections.

“When people get unhappy that their vote might not count, there are still votes to be counted and races can go back and forth,” Ronco said. “These votes still matter.”

In the meantime, though, many Lincoln City Council candidates and residents assume that the race is over and are either praising or chastising the initial results provided on Nov. 8.

Just a few hours after the Placer Elections Division released all the precinct votes, candidate Karleskint posted on Facebook at 4:44 a.m. Nov. 9 that “I was elected last night to our City Council by defeating an incumbent.”

Two councilmen quickly responded to Karleskint’s Facebook post.

Incumbent Paul Joiner, with the most precinct votes in the race, commented, “Ya ready to get to work?! Congratulations Dan, you earned it.”

And City Councilman Gabriel Hydrick, whose seat wasn’t up for election this year, posted, “Congratulations! I look forward to working with you.”

Karleskint should feel proud that he has so far received the third highest number of votes from the Lincoln precincts. Running for election isn’t easy and Karleskint worked hard, appearing at candidate forums and community events to share his platform.

But the official City Council results are not in yet and Karleskint’s 357-vote lead could possibly end after all vote-by mail and provisional votes are counted by the Placer County Elections Division.

The incumbent Karleskint referred to in his Facebook post is Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short, who has tirelessly served for 16 years on City Council. In addition, Short serves on city and regional committees dealing with water, public safety, the regional wastewater treatment plant and other complex issues.

Even if Short doesn’t keep his seat after all the ballots are counted, City Council members would be wise to include Short in their ongoing city discussions. Short grew up in this area, is one of Lincoln’s biggest advocates and has expertise in city matters.

Posting on Facebook about beating an incumbent is not a way to start a first term as a City Councilman. And two current council members gave their words of encouragement.

Just like in the national scene, we have to mend fences.