Our Democracy

Every. Vote. Counts.

A total of 338,943 votes were cast in the CA-25 congressional election. Christy Smith lost her bid to unseat Mike Garcia by 333 votes.

- Misattributed to Thomas Jefferson

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The chasm between Red and Blue America

I can see California’s 25th congressional district from my front porch. At first glance, the people who live on the next block over seem no different than me, but according to media reports, there is a widening gulf between us. The road that bisects my neighborhood may look ordinary, but it actually serves as the dividing line between Red and Blue America. In the 30th congressional district, we are represented by the Corporate Democrat Brad Sherman while my “neighbors” across the way are represented by Republican Mike Garcia. We obviously have nothing in common.

It did not have to be this way. Registered Democrats actually outnumber Republicans in the district and the then up and coming Democratic star Katie Hill upset the Republican incumbent, Steve Knight, to turn the seat blue in the 2018 midterms. Unfortunately, Hill was a victim of both revenge porn and a Democratic party without a backbone and resigned before finishing her first year in office. The seat reverted to red when Garcia won the special election against Christy Smith.

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With Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, Smith should have been poised for victory in her rematch for the seat last month. Instead, she came up short by 333 votes or .098% of the 338,943 votes that were cast. The announcement has not yet been made as to when my neighbors will join the state of New California.

Coming in a close third in the race was the number of voters who did not vote. As of October 19, 2020, the district had 444,009 registered voters, which means at least 105,066 people did not vote. Since California now allows same-day registration, the number of registered voters was probably actually slightly higher.

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Garcia’s mini-Super Spreader event

Under the rules put in place by California’s Governor Newsom, every registered voter received a mail-in ballot making it more convenient to vote than it has ever been. If just 334 of these non-voters who want to see the COVID-19 pandemic taken seriously had turned in their ballot, CA-25 would not be represented by a congressman who held his own mini-superspreader event. If just 334 of the non-voters who support special education had voted, they would be represented by a person who supports additional funding rather than eliminating the Department of Education. If just 334 additional mail-in ballots were returned from non-voters who find themselves uninsured during a worldwide pandemic, then they would start the new year with a Congressperson who believes that healthcare is a right. Instead, they will have one who is more concerned with socialism than the fact that his fellow Americans are a job loss away from losing medical coverage.

Elections are more than a contest between two teams, they are a way for us to express our values. When we stay home on election day we let others speak for us. One missing vote may not seem like a lot but when amplified 100,000 times, the silence is deafening. Just ask the progressives of AD-25 stuck on the wrong side of the red-blue divide.


Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD’s CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.

Written by

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children. www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com

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