The turnout for the 2013 Idyllwild Fire Protection District Commission election was 37 percent, the lowest since the 2001 election.
Registered voters in the district have declined from 1,799 in 2001 to 1,593 this year, which was 44 more than 2011, the nadir.
Besides the decline in registered voters, the actual number of votes cast for qualified candidates was the lowest in the same period.
Last week, the total number of votes cast for the four candidates — Rhonda Andrewson, Jeannine Charles-Stigall, Steven E. Kunkle and Nancy Layton — was the lowest in the past five elections.
Since 591 ballots were submitted to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters office, the total number of possible votes was 1,773, which is calculated by multiplying the number of ballots cast times the number of seats being filled. This year, that would be 591 times three.
But the actual number of votes for the four candidates was 1,203 or 67.8 percent, which means 570 votes were not counted or not cast.
For example, a voter might have cast a “bullet” vote, choosing only one candidate of the potential three. Thus, two potential votes were not cast. It’s also possible that votes for Mayor Max, Cal Fire or other possible write-in candidates were cast, but not counted.
When asked, Melissa Eickman, chief deputy, Registrar of Voters, replied, “California Elections Code lays out specific requirements to become a qualified write-in candidate. There were no qualified write-in candidates for Commissioner of Idyllwild Fire Protection District.”
The number of actual votes cast for qualified candidates has not been below 70 percent since 2001. In 2009, the level was 78 percent, and in 2007 and 2011 it approached 90 percent.
Whatever the reason for declining registration or votes for legitimate candidates, it must be emphasized that these are IFPD voters, not as some might argue, disgruntled Pine Cove residents.