Local Voters—No Last Names Please—Cast Ballots
BY BILL KOENEKER and NICOLE KLIEST
Malibuites are very private voters, or so it would appear from a random sampling of Malibu polling places on Super Tuesday when most of the people approached by two reporters from the Malibu Surfside News would not discuss how they cast their ballots, and if they would, usually preferred not to disclose their last names.
Polls were set up in areas around town such as the Malibu Library, Bluff’s Park, and the Malibu Swim Club. Being one of the most historic elections in what some say is decades, it was evident that voters were eager to have their voices heard.
“I voted for Obama because I am ready for change,” said Ryan, a 21-year-old Democrat who did not give his last name after voting at the Malibu Bluffs Park.
“Obama is in a sense revolutionary,” said 57-year-old Democrat Richard Reynolds. “I spent a long time comparing Clinton and Obama’s views and although they are quite similar, I find Hillary to be too much of an entrenched Democrat and Obama has less contacts with the past, which I see as a plus.”
On the other side, Democrat Maureen Weston who voted for Clinton says Clinton has more experience. “I like both candidates but ultimately I think Clinton is ready to take on the position. I find her to be experienced and very confident,” Weston said.
Non-voting on policy matters was a trend that seemed to resonate with younger voters in terms of Measure R. However, older demographics appeared be aware of this measure.
“I’m not a homeowner, so I can’t speak from that perspective but I definitely support what helps the funding of arts and music and teachers,” said Democrat Maureen O’Connell who does not have any children in the school district.
“I support the funding for schools, ” said Bill, a Republican who did not give his last name and cast his ballot for Measure R at the Malibu Swim Club.
57-year-old Democrat Richard Reynolds also voted yes on Measure R. “I support our schools and I believe that we should keep funding them,” Reynolds said.
Voting at the Malibu West Swim Club, Jerry, who only gave his first name, is 65 and a registered Republican. He has lived in Malibu for 16 years and has one child. He said he voted for Romney because he thought he had a better feel for the economy. “It is the economy, stupid,” he laughed, adding “Borrowing a line from the Democrats.”
On Measure R, Jerry voted no. “We felt a little bit screwed by our Santa Monica brethren. I saw this coming. Santa Monica has all the voters. Malibu will be much better off with our own school district.”
Also emerging from a Malibu West Swim Club voting booth was Bill, who also wanted to give only his first name. A lifelong Democrat, Bill, who is 64, is married with four children and said he voted for Clinton. He said he was influenced to vote for Clinton because of the combined experience of Bill and Hillary as opposed to just Obama. “Obama talks about change, but he doesn’t say how he is going to do it. He is a little young. With the Clintons, I know what I am getting,” he said.
Bill, a 26-year resident, said he did not follow closely the issues or politics of Measure R, but nonetheless voted yes.
A steady stream of voters was evident at the Malibu Bluffs polls, where Cynthia, 36, a mother of three and a professor who has lived in Malibu for the last three years, said she is an independent who voted for Obama. She said she supports him because she is looking for a change. Cynthia, who said she is aware of the political issues surrounding Measure R, voted for the tax because of her support for public education. “I am a professor, have children that go to public schools and am concerned about the major issues of the junior high school and high school in Malibu.”
Camille, who is 22, considers herself neither a Democrat nor Republican, but is registered as a Republican. She has lived in Malibu since 2004, has no children and said she voted for Romney. “McCain is OK. I agree more with Romney,” she added.
Camille said she did not know much about the local school district issues, but voted for Measure R because “it is about schools. I am a student.”
Another voter, who declined to give any name, said she is 55, a decline-to-state, a lifelong local resident and has two children.
She said she voted for Clinton because the candidate is the “lesser of two evils.” She claims she is not in the SM-MUSD, so she did not vote on Measure R.
Another voter, leaving the Malibu Library polling place, who declined to give a first or last name, said he did not vote in the presidential primary, but came to cast a no vote on Measure R. “The reason I voted against it, I am pro happening about a tax, but what is currently happening in the district should not be happening,” he said.
Poll workers, during a very brief respite at the Malibu Public Library, said they had a busy morning, with over 200 voters coming in to cast their ballots.
Despite their numbers, the voters at the Malibu Library polling place also included a majority of citizens who declined to be interviewed about their voting habits and outlooks. But they all get blue ribbons for citizenship.