In early May 2014, FreeTri-Tip Dinner published “Disconnect – Whose Issues Are We Talking About?” In this piece we presented a lot of statistics that pretty much proved that people over age 55 are a clear majority of the votes cast in Calaveras elections. At the end we wondered aloud whether the Supervisorial candidates’ platform and policy priorities would reflect this insight. The answer was, generally, not so much. None of the candidates except 3rd District candidate Michael Olivera specifically mentioned “senior citizens” in any policy-related manner, and this, like almost all of Mr. Olivera’s published policy ideas, was not burdened with specifics.
After the election results came in later that year, and two new faces joined a Board that already had three new faces from the previous election, we resolved to watch the policy priorities of the Board through this filter. After all, it would make sense that if one age group casts three-quarters of the votes, that age group might reasonably expect to have its voice heard and its concerns addressed. But what are those concerns? Is there a ‘senior agenda’ and if so, what would it be?
We’ll re-visit this issue in three parts. Part One will update the statistics with information from the most recent elections, and answer three questions: first, what is the age distribution of the entire population of Calaveras County? Second, what is the age distribution of the registered voters and, finally, what is the age distribution of the people who actually vote?
As in the first piece, we will find that in all three groups, population, registered voters, and actual voters, the age distribution is significantly older here than the State average. New this time, in Part 1 we’ll also look at some other statistics from the Census bureau that show what other politically important characteristics this population has in common.