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Casting Ballots With Cal, Spot

November 05, 1986|MARCIDA DODSON | Times Staff Writer

If you're looking for a ballot, go see Cal. . . .

That's what voters in one Huntington Beach precinct did Tuesday, braving Beach Boulevard traffic and hovering car salesmen to cast ballots at Cal Worthington Dodge.

The cars, vans and trucks were moved out of the showroom and the cardboard polling booths and voting devices were moved in, not too far from a 10-foot-tall snarling stuffed bear--one of Cal's infamous "dogs" Spot--standing near the driveway entrance of the polling place.

"We've been here seven or eight years . . . we were here even before Cal took over," said election worker Mary Dent. On one election day several years ago, she recalled, the star of late-night commercials, who vows repeatedly to stand on his head or eat a bug to sell a car, even came in and visited with the polling-place workers.

The intermingling of car salesmen and politics was just one scene Tuesday as Orange County went to the polls.

Voted to Cracking of Joints

And Worthington Dodge was not the only unlikely polling place among the 2,082 countywide. In Costa Mesa, voters cast ballots to the cracking of joints in a chiropractor's office. Ballots also were punched in a Seal Beach hotel, at a lawn-bowling club in Newport Beach, at a health club in Los Alamitos and inside a shopping mall in Huntington Beach.

Some voters walking into the car dealership showroom Tuesday were approached by sales representatives. "I notice they do jump on a few of them," said polling place inspector Frances Van Thyme. But the sales representatives backed off when the voters made their intentions known.

"We don't bug them," said sales manager Dean Hartman. "We're not as bad as people think." The dealership has never sold a car to a person coming in to vote, he said. "We're just doing it (hosting the polling place) as a courtesy. That's Cal. He's a nice guy."

"This is an upgrade over where we voted last time," said Natalie Tillman, as she and her husband, Howard, left a voting booth at Worthington Dodge. Before they moved, their polling place had been a Westminster trucking office. But the nicer quarters did not entice the couple to shop for a car.

"We don't like his commercials," said Howard Tillman.

It's too late for this year, but should you ever be invited to a politician's victory party, here are some do's and don'ts for election night fashion.

Asked what is appropriate party attire, Sallie Dornan--wife of the 38th District congressman--replied:

"Neat slacks or a nice skirt. . . . All those Democratic wives wear plunging necklines and the Republican women are more covered up."

What did she plan to wear?

"I'm just going to wear a basic black knit that hides a multitude of sins--all those doughnuts during the campaign." It doesn't matter that she's been seen in the dress before, she said. She didn't want to wear anything flashy when standing at Bob Dornan's side because "he's the star of the show."

Allison Polley has not missed a general election since he cast his first ballot for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. But Polley, 76, a retired construction engineer, faced a sudden crisis late last week when he was admitted with breathing problems to Placentia Linda Community Hospital.

Volunteers had collected patients' absentee ballot forms on Thursday, the day before Polley was admitted to the hospital. They tried to get the proper forms for Polley Monday, but a three-hour-long line at the registrar of voters office turned them back.

Undaunted, Polley wanted to vote.

On Tuesday, the hospital staff called the registrar' office, which dictated the absentee ballot form over the telephone. And shortly before 4 p.m., Polley was picking his candidates from his bed in the direct observation unit.

"I think voting is a duty and also a privilege, and I think that if more of us felt that way, we might have a little better country than we do," he said. "We have a good one, but it can be better."

Once a Democrat, Polley changed over to the Republican Party in 1940, he said, when Roosevelt ran for a third term.

He wouldn't reveal his vote preferences this year, "but I'm splitting the ticket. I'm not necessarily a party man." No amount of coaxing could prompt him to say who got his vote. "As long as everyone's gone through all the trouble I've put them through, I certainly have a right to protect myself and them," he said.

In a last-ditch, get-out-the-vote effort Tuesday night, Santa Ana Mayor Dan Griset got varied reactions from voters in an Anaheim precinct. While strolling through the 2100 block of South Madrid Street at 6:30 p.m., the candidate for the 72nd Assembly seat got responses ranging from, "Gee, I'd better put on a shirt," to "Yes, I've heard of your cleanup campaign, and to tell you the truth, I was kind of annoyed."

Griset staged cleanups on trash-strewn vacant lots throughout the district during his campaign. The cleanups were also featured in Griset's political ads.

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