Editorial: Turnout suffered; people did well
Voter turnout in the Tuesday municipal elections in Yavapai County wasn't spectacular (especially given the convenience of mail-in ballots), but those who did make it to the polls made sensible decisions.
The Town of Dewey-Humboldt, the county's newest municipality, scored the best turnout with 45.7 percent of the registered voters making it to the polls to elect second-term councilman Len Marinaccio mayor 553-507. Planning and Zoning Commissioner Terry Nolan won one of the three open council seats outright with 564 votes. Incumbent council members Denise Rogers and Nancy Wright will go into a May runoff election against Planning and Zoning Commissioner Mike Generalli and insurance agent Walt Statler to decide who fills the remaining two seats.
Next in turnout was the Town of Chino Valley where 42.8 percent of the eligible registered voters approved home rule 1,861-444 or 80.74 percent to 19.26 percent. They also chose Jim Bunker as mayor with 1,378 votes or 59.7 percent, and former Town Manager Carl Tenney for the town council outright with 1,640 votes. Council candidates Dean Echols, Dorothy Schmidt, Linda Hatch and Robert Justice will vie for the remaining two council vacancies in the May runoff.
Turnout was least in Prescott Valley which appeared to have the most controversial races. But 36.9 percent of the eligible voters approved home rule 5213-1201 or 81.28 percent to 18.72 percent. Harvey Skoog defeated Lisa Imburgia 5,201-1,856 or 73.47 percent to 26.22 percent.
Incumbent council member Harold Wise retained his seat with 4,178 votes, and Patty Lasker appears likely to take the other council seat. She had 3,740 votes as of Tuesday night.
The results are a clear defeat for the half dozen or so prolific online commentators who were unhappy with Prescott Valley and Chino Valley Town government. Failure of the home rule measures would have meant disaster for both towns.
One of the naysayers was quick to allege that the low turnout and pro-status-quo results in Prescott Valley indicate the town has given up under a pro-growth dictatorship.
For that to be true assumes that voters thoroughly studied and understood the issues yet chose not to vote. That flies in the face of common sense and assumes a widespread interest in and understanding of community issues that does not exist.
The system didn't work as we might like. Better turnout also yields more credible results. But it worked as it should.