Parks Wants None-of-the-Above Votes
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA – Officially, Councilman Adam Sanchez, now Mayor-elect Sanchez and soon-to-be Mayor Sanchez beat out incumbent Yvonne Parks by 12 votes in the November 2013 election. Sanchez is set to be sworn in as the city’s new mayor on December 3.
It is the 12 votes that are problematic says Yvonne Parks. That close result prompted her to pay for a recount on Thursday, a recount she lost when the accuracy of the Riverside County Registrar of Voters was confirmed.
Leading up to the recount Yvonne Parks claimed election fraud was responsible for her loss. Her contention following the recount is still election fraud but now she is adding another excuse. She says voters were confused by the ballot.
In an examination of the ballots, Yvonne Parks challenged 13 ballots that showed a mark for a fourth space on the ballot in the race for mayor that appeared directly below her name. Parks was in the last position on the ballot.
On all ballots in all races there is an additional blank space provided to voters. That space is often used by voters to write-in a name that does not appear on the ballot. At least 13 voters marked the fourth space on the ballots Parks challenged. No name was written in.
Parks contends those voters intended to vote for her. But there is a problem in claiming the voters were so confused when looking at the entire ballot put before voters.
On the very same ballot page where the ballot for mayor is shown are also other races, one for city council and one for Mission Springs Water District. The ballots for city council and Mission Springs Water District also have a blank space below the last name on the ballot.
The problem is with Yvonne Parks contention that voters were confused and marked the blank below her name did not have trouble getting it right on the ballots for those other races. On the very same ballots that Parks challenged, voters also voted for Jan Pye for city council and Jeff Bowman for the water district.
Both Pye and Bowman were also at the bottom of the ballot and both had a blank space below their names. For Parks’ contention to hold up, she would have to argue the voters were only confused when it came to the race for mayor.
The other possible explanation is that when it came to the mayor’s race, voters marked the blank space to indicate none-of-the-above, which was exactly the determination the registrar of voters made when it overruled Parks’ challenges.
Unable to convince the Registrar of her argument and still unwilling to concede defeat, Yvonne Parks continued to deal the race card by harping about registration fraud, alleging that Hispanics illegally voted for Adam Sanchez.
Hopefully those snow birds from Canada who may have voted for Yvonne Parks will not suffer the same defamation.
For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business.
Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader.
In 2014 he was appointed Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs, California.
Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Desert Hot Springs, California.