Election for state Senate's 15th District is today

Polling places across San Luis Obispo County will open at 7 a.m. today for the special primary election for the state Senate 15th District race.

The election is being held to replace Abel Maldonado, the Republican who was appointed lieutenant governor in May.

Voters will have until 8 p.m. to cast their ballots and can vote for any of the four men listed on the ballot, regardless of party affiliation.

If one of the candidates wins 50 percent plus one of the ballots cast, that person becomes the new state senator. Otherwise, the candidates will move to a special general election to be held Aug. 17.

The candidates are: Rep. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo; Democrat John Laird, a former assemblyman; Jim Fitzgerald of Nipomo, an independent who declines to state a party affiliation; and Mark Hinkle, a Libertarian from Morgan Hill.

Any voters who have yet to turn in their absentee ballot need to deliver it today to a polling place or the elections headquarters in the County Government Center.

Putting an absentee ballot in the mail today won’t get it to elections officials in time to be counted.

— Tribune staff report