Area voters look on as election stalls |

Area voters look on as election stalls

by Timothy Bowman, Tribune staff writer

The presidential election ballots have been cast, but no winner has been declared as of Wednesday.

Lake Tahoe’s south shore residents expressed emotions ranging from guarded contentment to disdain and confusion about the delay in determining the final result in the race between Democratic candidate Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush. The one sure thing is that people are talking.

“Oh yea, since we came in here this morning, we’ve been talking about it,” said Sprouts Cafe employee Mandy Whalen.

Co-worker, Nicole Newlin, said she has noticed political talk among customers too.

“I feel a higher buzz and I feel the candidates are both polar opposites, so if Bush wins or Gore wins, it is going to be a big difference,” Newlin said.

Aside from which candidate would be best for the job, discussion topics centered around the efficiency of the electoral process. Many would opt to employ the popular vote as the final determining factor in the Presidential Election.

“I think they should have a general election rather than the electoral,” said South Lake Tahoe resident Rosalie Lazor.

Others lamented about the complexity of the ballots used in government elections in the wake of the possible erroneously marked ballots in Florida.

“In this day and age they should have a clear ballot where people can pick the person they want,” said San Francisco resident Nadine Koss. “Especially when you have people who are elderly of foreign.”

The delay in an official result and premature press forecasting to the contrary led to a great deal of confusion on South Shore.

“I had one guy walk in here this morning and say, ‘Ah, Bush won!’ I said, ‘I don’t think so,’ ” said barbershop owner Bob VanHorn.

Both Douglas and El Dorado Counties showed high voter turnout with 18,246 on the Nevada side and 62,780 on the California side. Local polling results showed strong support for Bush. In El Dorado County, Bush took 58 percent of the vote to Gore’s 37 percent, with Green Party candidate Ralph Nader claiming four percent of the vote. Results in Douglas County were similar with Bush taking 62 percent of the vote, Gore 32 percent and Nader 3 percent.

Though the delayed results have caused confusion, supporters of the candidates are still rallying for their favorites. Gore supporters continue to attack Bush’s “Nomad Years,” while others are more understanding.

“I can identify because 24 years ago I was doing stupid things. I mean Clinton is 50 and he’s still doing them,” said South lake Tahoe resident Carina McConaughey.

Apart from the Democrats and the Republicans, the Green Party, though a small minority, voiced itself loudly in Tuesday’s election.

“I didn’t vote for either (Gore or Bush,) but I expected Bush to win,” said Green Party supporter and South Tahoe resident James Neel.

While many Democrats criticized the Green Party for taking votes from Al Gore, Neel insists it is a matter of principle in voting for Nader.

“I was going to vote for the Green Party regardless so they get more funding,” Neel said. “It is part of a long-term strategy.”

In all, Tuesday’s election has sparked new interest among voters in the polling process.

“Everybody is just amazed it happened in the first place, and everyone is waiting for a result,” VanHorn said.

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