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One-Third Of Races Taken Off November Ballot

Almost 40 Contra Costa County elections did not have a surplus of candidates, so there will be no vote

More than three dozen elections in Contra Costa County will not be on the November ballot.

That's because those local races did not have a surplus of candidates when the campaign filing period ended earlier this month.

State law allows counties to take those particular elections off the ballot. The Board of Supervisors then appoints the candidates who did file to run for that particular office.

For the Nov. 6 election, there were 129 races in Contra Costa County that were eligible for the ballot. Of those, 39 were taken off due to a lack of candidates.

Contra Costa County Clerk Steve Weir said the removals are about average for this county.

In November 2010, 36 elections were taken off the ballot. In November 2008, 42 were removed. In November 2006, 28 were taken off. In November 2004, 37 were deleted.

Many of the races removed this year involved special districts or other smaller agencies that generally don't attract a lot of attention.

However, there are some higher profile elections.

One is the Walnut Creek School District race. There were two slots open on the school board and only two candidates filed.

The deletion saved the school district the $60,000 it would have had to pay the elections department to have the race on the ballot.

The removal also prevents any potential candidate from staging a write-in campaign.

Weir said the removals also keep the ballot from getting too long. He said there is a considerable drop-off in voting on the latter pages of a ballot.

"We do get voter fatigue. We can see it," he said.

Weir said the lack of candidates doesn't bother him as long as everybody thinks things are going fine.

What does bother him is when there is widespread discontent over government and people still don't run for office.

"That does bug me," said Weir, who has been involved in Contra Costa County politics for four decades. "If people don't feel things are going the way they should be, then they should put someone up to run."

There are some competitive races in the county. For example, 11 candidates are vying for two seats on the Concord City Council this November.

You can look at the candidates that will be on the Nov. 6 ballot by going to this site on the Contra Costa County Elections Department web page and calling up the "semi-official list of candidates."

Concord Mike September 24, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Removing races like this from the ballot is an undemocratic travesty. This is a shame and a sham. Voters need to know there are many races where no one took enough interest to run against the incumbent. If these races are not on the ballot, the voters will not be aware of the need. Steve Weir - you just dropped 10 points in my estimation due to your apparent support for this practice.

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