It’s all about turnout

Opposition to Measure A is strong, but will people vote?

Judging solely by the number of yard signs around Chico opposed to Measure A on the ballot next Tuesday, June 7, more people are against it than are for it. Letters to the editor are running the same way. Both local newspapers have come out against it, as have the League of Women Voters, the California Faculty Association, several local union chapters, five current City Council members, two school district trustees, one state university trustee and 10 former mayors.

That seems like a lot of opposition firepower, but it would be a big mistake for Measure A opponents to think victory is in the bag. It’s not, for one of the very reasons they oppose the measure: People who vote in June elections tend to be more conservative than those who vote in November, and turnout tends to be low.

In other words, they can count on Measure A’s supporters to vote. The question is: Can they count on its opponents to go to the polls in sufficient numbers when the election is in June and there’s only one matter on the ballot?

Measure A opponents should remember what happened just a year ago to Jane Dolan, the most successful county supervisor in history, when too many of her supporters failed to go to the polls. More people in her district preferred her over Larry Wahl, but not enough of them voted, and Wahl won.

Forewarned is forearmed. This election will be decided by turnout. As the saying goes, if you don’t vote, you’ll have no right to complain.