By Sarah Phelan
Somewhere in Alameda County
You’ve got to feel just a tad sorry for the political animals in the East Bay tonight. While other campaigns are cracking open the bubbly, or drowning their sorrows in pitchers of beer, on this satanic-sounding O6.06.06 election night, the folks in Alameda County are going to be chewing their nails, a manicure-challenging activity they’ll likely continue until the wee hours -- or even until noon, Wednesday, June 7 -- before they find out if their candidate won.
The reason for this delay lies with the AC board of supes, who back in March voted to replace the county’s Diebold Election System touch-screen machines after a California-based voter rights group sued the AC, along with 17 other counties in the state, over their electronic voting machines. The supes’ decision meant AC had to revert to paper ballots, since there weren’t enough replacement machines to service the county’s 830 polling stations. As a result, Alameda County will be left holding a whole bunch of paper ballots, and 90 unfortunate souls in the county registrar’s department are going to have to feed them into optical scanners.
All this counting is also going to hold up the results of one of the biggest races this June: the Democratic gubernatorial primary between state controller Steve Westly and state treasurer Phil Angelides. According to the most recent polls, that race is in a dead heat. And with almost six percent of the state’s 6.6 million Democrats calling the AC home, chances are it’s gonna be a cliffhanger all the way. But just in case one of the gubernatorial candidates pulls into a strong lead early on, they both better stay on the nail-chewing regime and off the beer/bubbly diet, at least until tomorrow night, because it’s not easy to pronounce a “gubernatorial" victory at the best of times, but definitely not if you’re a little tipsy.