Elections

Are you a great American? Election Day is the time to prove it

SLO County Clerk-Recorder shows what it’s like to count thousands of ballots

San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong talks about the process of counting ballots on June 6, 2018, the day after the California Primary. Thousands of ballots remain after Election Day in SLO County.
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San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong talks about the process of counting ballots on June 6, 2018, the day after the California Primary. Thousands of ballots remain after Election Day in SLO County.

On Tuesday, you have your single best opportunity to show just how great an American you are.

It doesn’t depend on how much money you make, how much time you give to your community, how well you raise your kids or how many flags you display.

It doesn’t depend on how many college degrees you have or whether you even graduated from high school. It doesn’t depend on your party affiliation. It doesn’t depend on whether you served in the military, served in the clergy or served at a diner.

All it depends on is that you care about the future of this nation and are willing to take a small amount of time and energy to play a part in charting its path.

I don’t know anything about the election, you say. Politics doesn’t interest me. I don’t follow current events — it’s just too much. My vote doesn’t matter.

Think again.

You don’t know anything?

It’s never too late to educate yourself, and news organizations small and large all over the country are making it as easy as possible to find the information you need. We’ve got in-depth investigations and breezy blurbs, roundups and rundowns, voter guides and videos. Go to sanluisobispo.com and search “SLO County election,” or just Google your question.

We’ve got an easy-to-digest primer on the statewide propositions.

Asking the Tough Questions

This election matters. From local city council races to California’s ballot propositions, The Tribune is committed to providing the best political coverage on the Central Coast.

And after the ballots are counted, our reporters work to hold elected officials accountable and ask the tough questions you need answered.

Support local journalism: Sign up for a digital subscription to The Tribune today.

You can read about specific candidates in particular races, such as the San Luis Obispo mayor and council race. You can check out what your neighbors think in our letters to the editor. We even have one page rounding up links to all of the most relevant content.

You can dive in quickly and get a decent enough feel for the issues to make a decision. Or you can explore particular topics or candidates in great depth.

Politics doesn’t interest you?

Do higher taxes and paying more at the gas pump interest you? Does having smooth, safe roads interest you? If you said “yes” to either of those questions, you have a vote to make on Tuesday. That’s Proposition 6.

What about housing? Does it interest you that your children might not be able to buy a home here?

Proposition 10 aims to repeal a 1995 rental housing act in hopes of creating more affordable housing. Do you think that would help?

Maybe. Maybe not. But take a stand. Everyone should care about that issue.

What about water and oil? Should San Luis Obispo County ban fracking and expanded oil drilling?

The oil industry says jobs and our energy independence are at stake, and it’s spending more than $7 million to convince you to vote no. Supporters of Measure G worry about the threat to our groundwater and want to move more quickly to alternative energy sources.

What’s more important? You get to decide.

It’s just too much?

You don’t have to be a news junkie or a political expert to have an opinion and a say in Tuesday’s election.

Maybe 10 of the 11 state propositions leave your head spinning. Then vote on two or three.

Nobody knows who all those judges are, but there’s a good chance you know one of your school board candidates. Show them your support.

And everyone should check a box on the congressional race, because the dysfunction now occurring in Washington, D.C., is unparalleled and an atrocity upon our democracy. Send the person you think will make a difference.

You think your vote doesn’t matter?

It does, and every election, that point is proven time and again.

Ask Jimmy Paulding if he thinks your one vote is meaningless. He lost his June bid for the San Luis Obispo County District 4 supervisor seat to Lynn Compton by just 60 votes.

Ask Jan Marx if she thinks your vote doesn’t matter. She lost the San Luis Obispo mayor race in 2016 by a mere 47 votes.

Your vote matters in small city races like these and in the contests for the highest offices in the land.

No reason not to vote

These days, California and San Luis Obispo County make every effort to smooth the voting process and increase turnout.

If you received a vote-by-mail ballot, fill it out today and send it off.

If you lost it or made a mistake, don’t worry. You can get a new one at the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office, which has locations in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero. Or you can show up at your polling place on Election Day. The Clerk-Recorder’s website has a handy tool to find that. Go to www.slocounty.ca.gov and search “polling place lookup.”

Were you planning to vote on Tuesday but have to go out of town or work a double shift? No problem. The San Luis Obispo elections office is open extended hours over the weekend, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Did you forget to register? As of this year, that is not a deal-killer either. Visit one of the Clerk-Recorder’s offices and cast a conditional ballot.

What if you think you’re registered to vote, but in a different county? There’s an online Voter Status Lookup tool available to help you out. Visit the county’s website and search “voter status.” Even if you are registered somewhere else, you can still vote conditionally.

So you see, there’s really no excuse not to make your voice heard on Tuesday.

Vote red. Vote blue. Vote in between. Vote on a little. Vote on a lot.

Just vote.

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