Election 2010: Weighing the Results

William Lotherington / Guardian

Republicans painted Washington red on Tuesday, taking control of the House of Representatives with the largest majority since 1947. GOP representatives for Congress won at least 60 extra House seats nationwide, including two from California. They also gained six seats in the Senate.

On-campus poll workers said voting went smoothly for most of the morning. However, during the afternoon rush, the Price Center polling location ran out of ballots. They were in short supply due to the many off-campus voters who showed up at the polling places.

These voters were forced to cast provisional ballots because they were voting outside their precinct. Provisional ballots must be confirmed to prevent voter fraud, so many of the votes cast at UCSD have not been included in the official tally, Vice President of External Affairs Michael Lam said. Poll workers estimated that up to 50 percent of UCSD votes were provisional.

One of the big draws this election cycle was Prop. 19, the initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use.  The proposition lost with only 45 percent of the voters supporting it. For weeks before the election proponents of Prop. 19 handed out fliers on Library walk — a campaign that continued even as most students finished voting.  They were joined alongside opponents of Prop. 23, which would have repealed the Air Pollution Control Law. Voters rejected Prop 23 with 61 percent of the vote.

“It’s fun,” said a long-time poll worker Ricky Santos. “One of my favorite things is when we find out it’s their first [time] voting, especially if they brought their sample ballot. We’ve given them standing ovations before.”

But while the propositions and gubernatorial nominees drew many students, television ads for candidates had made some unwilling to vote.

“The candidates were kind of annoying,” Eleanor Roosevelt College senior Ravi Wettasinghe said. “I made a point to not vote for the candidates that had a lot of advertising.”

Sixth College senior Neko Castleberry said she agreed the advertisements were ineffective. She was also distracted by the pressures of exams, a concern that kept many students from following the campaign.

“If you watch any TV, they are on there but you don’t learn anything from the campaign ads,” she said. “Because of midterms — I have one today — I don’t feel like I know as much as I should.”

While most of the country turned to Republican leadership, California remained heavily Democratic. Democrats won 50 of the contested State Assembly seats and 14 of the State Senate seats. This is nearly twice the amount of Republican wins in the Assembly, with 26. The Republicans also won less than half the Democratic State Senators with just 6 being elected.  Along with Jerry Brown’s win as governor and Barbara Boxer defending her Senate seat, California became one of the bluest states in the country.

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