Sunday begins the 30-day countdown to the June 3 primary election, but plenty of San Luis Obispo County voters will be able to get a head-start on casting their ballots.
On Monday, the county Clerk-Recorders’ office will send out mail-in ballots requested by 88,789 registered voters — nearly 60 percent of the 149,700 voters registered in the county, said Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald.
Forgot to register to vote? It’s not too late. Registration closes on May 19 to vote in the June primary.
The primary ballot includes a mix of statewide and local races, as well as two statewide propositions.
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Locally, several heated races will be decided in June because only two candidates are battling for those seats.
Rodewald said that voter turnout in primary elections typically is disappointingly low, with 43 percent turning out in the last non-presidential primary election.
“It’s laughable to me when people say the primary doesn’t matter. There are contests that will be decided in June,” she said. “And in ones that aren’t you certainly can have a say in who you want to see on the ballot in November.”
The two-candidate races that will be decided on June 3 are for county District Attorney between candidates Tim Covello and Dan Dow, county Board of Supervisors District 2 with candidates Muril Clift and Bruce Gibson, and Morro Bay mayor with candidates Jamie Irons and Carla Wixom.
Morro Bay also has three candidates vying for two city council seats. Any candidate winning more than 50 percent of the vote automatically secures one seat with the other seat decided in November between the remaining two candidates. If none win a majority in June, all three proceed to the Nov. 4 general election and the top two vote-getters are elected to the council.
Other local races on the June ballot are for the county Supervisor District 4 seat between Mike Byrd, Lynn Compton and Caren Ray; and county Clerk-Recorder with candidates Ann M. Danko, Tommy Gong, and Amanda S. King.
In those races, the top two vote-getters will move to a runoff in November.
Statewide races on the ballot are for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general, insurance commissioner, state board of equalization and state superintendent of public instruction.
Local voters will also vote in the 35th District state Assembly race between incumbent Katcho Achadjian and challenger Heidi Harmon, and the 24th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives where incumbent Lois Capps faces eight challengers. The top two vote-getters in these races will go to a runoff in the Nov. 4 general election.
This year’s primary will be the first time voters get the same ballot without regard to party registration and the top two vote-getters for statewide offices face off in Nov. 4 regardless of party affiliation. Voters approved the new system through Proposition 14 in 2010.
In San Luis Obispo County, about 39.5 percent of voters are registered as Republican, 33.5 percent as Democrat, 21 percent as decline to state, and 6 percent with minor parties, according to Rodewald’s office.
Registration has dropped by 3 percent since the June 2010 primary and voters have moved away from party affiliation. Registration with the Democratic Party declined by nearly 9 percent while Republican party registration dropped by 4.7 percent. At the same time, the number of voters listing themselves as “decline to state” rose by 7 percent.
As for the two statewide propositions on the ballot, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act (Prop. 41) would authorized $600 million in general obligation bonds for affordable multifamily supportive housing for veterans and their families; Prop. 42 would require local governments to comply with public access laws to government meetings and records while eliminating state reimbursement for the costs to comply with those laws.