Scenes From a Midterm Election in Richmond

RP Staff Report

Photos from polling places and election watch parties across Richmond as voters, including candidates and their supporters, cast ballots in the 2018 midterm election.

“I am here to voice my opinion and vote for city council members, mayor and governor. I have voted bi-annually. This year I voted for Newsom as governor because I feel like he is for the people. Right now, we don’t need too many Republicans in office, especially with the Trump agenda. Therefore, voting Democrat is voting for the people. I think Trump has gotten people to realize that their vote does matter. A lot of people are thinking, ‘how did Trump get into office?’ and now want to vote so people like him don’t get elected.”

– Sarn Saephan

“I am volunteering to help know how the system works and what I should expect when it comes to politics. In the morning, it was very fast-paced. There was a lot of people that came to vote. I am 17, but I pre-registered for next time. I believe I have to learn more about politics and open up to more info to learn the political environment.”

– Hugo Tecpa Molina

“All of a sudden I have to do a provisional ballot. I have been voting here (Hilltop Community Church) since I was 18 years old. I will be 40 on Thursday. So, I am confused at why now, all of a sudden, the polling station has to research whether I am eligible to vote or not. My name was not on the list. Now, I got to wait 45 days to know if my vote counted or not. I came all the way from San Francisco, where I work, and I live in Stockton, to come vote here. I am over this. It is foolishness. Little things here and little things there discourage people from voting, and it has been happening all over the nation. People have to stand in line and sometimes not get to vote, and they have to do this and that just to be able to vote.”

– Christine Watson

“I am voting. Have to do my American duty. So many people have died giving us this right. I vote every year. There is a lot at stake this midterm. It depends on the issue. You cannot be on the left or the right. Right now, the Democrats express more of my beliefs of how government should be run. Although, sometimes for local elections, I feel that there is not enough information on the candidates to make a well-informed vote. Most of the time, I have to go by word of mouth about the candidates.”

– Javier Milan

“I’m going to continue to do this work, regardless of whether I win tonight. There’s definitely some policies that I still want the city to accomplish, and so I definitely see it as my agenda to continue to do that.”

-Ada Recinos, City Council member and candidate who was not elected

“I’m out here today letting people know how important it is to vote and who is running for different offices like city council and school board. People are saying, ‘Why should I vote because Trump is in office.’ But I told them how important it is to vote for your local government. We are at a crucial point, and we need a change in our City Council.”

– Timothy Walker

Darryl Godfrey places his “I Voted!” sticker on his chest after voting at the Richmond Senior Center.

“I do this every year. I usually vote in person, but this year I decided to vote by mail. It was very cool. I got my ballot in early October and took my time. It felt like I was studying. My coworker told me about how he does it. I liked it much better. I got to just drop off my ballot, and now I am done. It was an easy process. I spent a lot of time looking at the quotes in the voting guide. That is how I decided who to vote for. I noticed I didn’t pick specific parties, rather I did more research on the candidates I liked on my own. I know voting has become a big conversation since Trump got elected. Definitely been a bigger conversation at work. Before Trump, I didn’t feel people really talking about midterms.”

– Christian Castillo

I am volunteering by handing out pamphlets containing information on candidates. I got started volunteering when Melvin Willis came to ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment?) and helped with rent control.”

– James Daniel

“One of the things I’m looking forward to the most now that the campaign is over, is being able to go to community events and not have people look at me and say ‘Oh he’s just campaigning,’ ‘cause I’m not just campaigning. If I’m being with the community, it’s not because I was campaigning, it’s because that’s what I do. It’s what I’ve been doing for many years.”

– Cesar Zepeda (left), City Council candidate, who was not elected

“I feel very good because I was able to mobilize and get a lot of people registered to vote for the very first time in their lives. I mean, people that have been living in Richmond for 20 to 30 years and never registered. We also got the young people that say voting is not for them, we got them to go out and register, too. I feel confident and good. This campaign was successful, even if I do not get the seat. We got people to learn about the process. This was a learning process, and what I learned was that politicians have to raise a lot of money to have a successful campaign. I saw it differently. I did not start this campaign this year, I started this 23 years ago. So, this is a grassroots movement. I have helped out a lot of people in my life and those people that I helped out, now are coming up to me and saying I am voting for you. I did not raise a lot of money because I had the support of my community. There is a packed house of people waiting for the results on a Tuesday with me.”

– Diego Garcia, city council candidate who was not elected

“Diego has been doing this since 1995. He has his own business, his own soccer league. He has always been a participator in the community and does food drives. I think he deserves it because of how much he has done for the city. This year, I am just voting for City Council. I am not really into politics, and I am not informed about the other races enough to make a good voting decision. Even without him being in the City Council, Diego has been making a difference. I am not worried too much about me not voting in the other elections because voting and getting Diego elected will make a great impact on my city right now.”

– Mario Leal (left), veteran

Patty (no last name given), places her finished ballot in the bag after voting at the Richmond Senior Center. Patty only recently moved to California and made sure that she was able to vote in the midterm elections in her new state.

“The best way to describe tonight is it’s like Christmas. I just love the vibe that’s going on. Everybody’s going around voting, everyone’s excited, there’s multiple watch parties going on and, for me, — as somebody who’s politically engaged — to see people who on a regular basis don’t like CNN or aren’t interested in the news to take time [to vote], it’s like a Christmas spirit to me.”

– Demnlus Johnson, City Council candidate who was elected with most votes of any candidate

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