Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

LA stoops to monetary incentive

link Rube Render

Local columnist

The number of registered voters in a jurisdiction will vary over any period of time one attempts to examine.

In Clovis, the number has varied from as low as the 15,000s to around 18,000.

For our purposes, I propose we use 16,500 as the rough number of registered voters in our city.

In seven elections held for the city of Clovis since 2006, only once has the turnout reached more than 5,000 voters. The 2008 mayoral race drew 5,303 voters. That particular election had six candidates for the mayor’s spot and also had a “liquor by the drink” question on the ballot.

Interestingly enough, the only other time voter turnout went above the 4,000 mark was for the mayor’s race in 2012. That election also had a question on the ballot that may have driven turnout. The question involved limiting candidates to serving on only one local commission at a time. They could hold office as a city commissioner or a county commissioner, but not both at the same time.

Both of these elections were widely and publicly fought in the press, on radio, on TV and to any community group that would listen to candidates.

Of the remaining five elections, only two of them had turnouts of more than 3,000 voters. One of these was for the “affordable housing” issue, also referred to as the Hotel Clovis issue, and the other was the latest city commission election held in March of this year, which featured the so-called Lansford/Brumfield proxy race. Both of these elections were also fought in person as well as in various media.

The remaining three elections never drew more than 2,310 voters.

It turns out that Los Angeles has the same problem of low voter turnout for its elections. To solve the problem, the LA ethics commission voted to recommend a proposal that would have the city offering a cash prize in a lottery of $50,000 to one lucky voter to boost the dismal turnout in local elections.

You read that correctly, it was the ethics commission that put forward this proposal.

Walter Russell Mead, the James Clarke Chace professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College, remarked on this sad state of affairs, this really is the be all/end all of blue vs. red politics: “Vote for me on the chance I’ll give you free stuff.”

If all we’re concerned about is turnout, why not just give everyone who votes 20 bucks for walking around money?

Rube Render is the Curry County Republican chairman. Contact him at:

[email protected]