Nearly 43,000 SLO County residents have already voted in special state senate election

Close to 43,000 county voters in the Aug. 17 special state Senate election have already turned in their vote-by-mail ballots, the county clerk-recorder said Wednesday, and San Luis Obispo County could surpass its turnout for the June 22 election.

With a week to go, 42,786 residents had returned vote-by-mail ballots, according to Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald. That is just 3,793 less than the number of vote-by-mail ballots submitted in the special primary June 22.

In that election, 11,961 voted at the polls, as opposed to absentee. The vote total was 58,469.

What the numbers add up to is this: It is possible that as many as two-thirds of those who would vote in San Luis Obispo County in the Aug. 17 election already have done so.

“My educated guess is that the number of ballots we have returned now represents between 60 and 70 percent of the total turnout,” Rodewald wrote The Tribune in response to a question.

Four candidates are seeking the 15th District state Senate seat vacated by Abel Maldonado when he became lieutenant governor in May.

They are Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, Democrat John Laird, Libertarian Mark Hinkle, and Independent Jim Fitzgerald.

The four have a debate, the last one of the campaign, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Paso Robles.

The district extends over five counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara.