Passions Run High on Issues, Candidates at Busy Healdsburg Polling Places

More than 300 voters signed in at one polling place with 5 hours still to go.


Both long-term Healdsburg residents and new arrivals flocked to the polls Tuesday, keeping stalls filled and poll workers busy.

"We're way ahead [of predicted voter traffic]," said poll worker David Kinzie at one of about five polling places in the city.

Kinzie said 301 residents had voted by 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, with almost five hours still to go.

"That doesn't include the absentee votes," he added. "With those, we probably have closer to 400."

For all Healdsburg election results -- and links to California results in state and federal races -- see Healdsburg Patch Election Central.

Voter turnout in Sonoma County was expected to top 85 percent, according to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters. To see Sonoma County election result totals, click here.

At the polls, meanwhile, Healdsburg Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kent Mitchell, a registered Independent, said he was voting for President Obama.

"I don't agree with everything he's done, but he's better than the alternative," said Mitchell, a past president of the Healdsburg Rotary Club.

In the local races, Mitchell said he was supporting Tom Chambers and Shaun McCaffery for Healdsburg City Council. Mitchell said incumbents Plass and Chambers have long-time successful track records, while McCaffery, a City Council candidate in 2010, has "really earned his stripes" in recent years through volunteering and hard work, Mitchell said.

in local eateries tonight, while the other three candidates -- Dennis Brown and Vernon Simmons -- said they would be at home with family and friends watching the results come in.

Mitchell also said he was voting yes on both and Measure W, the continuation of the city's urban growth boundary.

Mitchell, one of the people who helped write the language for the original urban growth boundary ordinance, said it has helped Healdsburg keep its small town charm and character while withstanding the pressures to evolve into urban sprawl.

"It's probably one of the most important rules we have in our land-use planning," he said.

Elsewhere at the polls, Adrianne Butler, a young mother of two who moved to Healdsburg five months ago from Hawaii, said she skipped voting for Healdsburg City Council because she didn't know the candidates.

"I'm new in town, so I didn't think it was fair to vote for that race," she said.

However, Butler was highly schooled about the statewide propositions -- particularly . 

Butler said she supported the concept of labeling and the right to know what's in our food, She also said she was strongly opposed to genetically modified food and did not back actions by Monsanto and other corporations to proliferate  GMOS throughout the food supply.

However, Butler said she voted against Prop. 37 because she felt the way the law was written, it would put too much pressure on the "true Mom and Pop" grocery stores to maintain paperwork and record-keeping.

"Some of these small Mexican places, they get half their products from Mexico," she said. "They can't get any sworn statements about their food being non-GMO.

"Those places would be in jeopardy," Butler said.

Butler said the anti-GMO forces should rewrite the proposition to avoid the paperwork issues for small grocery stores. Then it should be resubmited it to voters.

"This was a really hard one for me," she said.

To see all the California election results -- including those for Prop. 37 and the other 10 propositions -- click here.

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