If Secretary of State Debra Bowen was playing Scrabble, she'd have a heckuva time trying to form a word from the first seven letters selected in the state's randomized alphabet drawing. The drawing for this election cycle, held back in August, selected the letters F, Q, Y, K, O, C, and H. (A Scrabble cheats website says the longest word you can form from those letters is "Choky," for 16 points.)
But it was good news for Merced candidates Stanley Thurston and John Carlisle. "T" was selected ninth in the drawing, and "C" was sixth. Their names will appear first on local ballots for Merced's Nov. 8 mayoral and city council election.
In the mayoral race, Thurston's name is listed first on the ballots, followed by Michelle Gabriault-Acosta, Bill Blake, Bill Spriggs and Kenneth Riggleman.
The city council ballots list Carlisle first, followed by Richard Cervantes, Alex Gallardo, Charles Bolin, Noah Lor, Mike Murphy, Tony Dossetti and Carl Pollard.
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Of course, the order of names appears to have little, if any, effect on an election's outcome. In 2009, Gabriault-Acosta was listed first on the mayoral ballots thanks to "G" being picked sixth in the randomized drawing, but she was narrowly defeated by Spriggs. Likewise, in the council race, Blake was listed first (he won), but the two other council winners were listed third (Josh Pedrozo) and last (Mary Michal-Rawling.)