By Mary O’KEEFE
The Presidential Primary Election is on June 7 but the election goes beyond party presidential decisions. There are measures on the ballot as well as choices for State Assembly 43rd District, State Senate 25th District, the 28th District of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, Superior Court judges and, locally, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Fifth District.
Just prior to the Presidential primary in 2012, the California Secretary of State’s Office announced that the number of Californians registered to vote was up by more than a million compared to the 2008 primary. In 2012, 7.7 million vote-by-mail ballots were issued, which was a record number at the time. In the primary election of 2012, 31.1% of total registered voters participated.
The State of California has been working to make it easier to register to vote. Nearly 200,000 voter registrations or registration updates were made online on May 23 of this year alone.
“In a single day, 194,655 registrations or updates took place on California’s online voter registration website,” stated Secretary Alex Padilla.
May 23 was the last day to register to vote for the June 7 primary. If eligible California voters missed the deadline for the primary they can still vote in the upcoming Presidential election as long as their registration is postmarked or submitted to an elections office on or before 15 days prior to the Election Day of Nov. 8, 2016.
Those eligible to vote in the June 7 election can use L.A. County’s new Will Call Ballot Pickup and Drop-off program. The program is a way to make it easier for vote-by-mail voters who can request a ballot either online or over the phone, once the voter is verified, which takes at least two days. The voter can then go to pre-designated location to pick up the ballot. The program runs between May 28 and June 6.
“These locations will give voters a new in-person option for completing and returning their vote-by-mail ballots. Voting booths will be set up in dedicated areas to allow voters to mark and complete their vote-by-mail ballots if they choose,” according to a statement from the County of L.A. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Office.
Prior registration is required to get the will call ballots. Voters can submit their application either online at LAvote.net or by phone (expect a long hold) at (562) 466-1323. The application will be processed and, if approved, a confirmation number and pickup date will be provided. Voters will have a choice of 11 offices available for will-call pickup.
The closest location to Crescenta Valley is the Pasadena City Clerk’s Office located at 100 N. Garfield Ave., Room S228, Pasadena. The hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For the office of President, en voters walk into their polling place, or arrange for vote-by-mail, they will get a ballot for the party they’re registered in. Voters registered as “no party preference” can request a crossover ballot when they enter their polling place. A crossover ballot allows the voter to “cross over” to a party to vote in the primary. The parties that allow no-party preference voters to cast a “crossover” ballot in their presidential primary are Democratic Party, American Independent Party and Libertarian Party.
Voters will be asked to choose a candidate for their party affiliation; for example, the Democratic ticket has a choice of Keith Judd, Michael Steinberg, Bernie Sanders, Willie Wilson, Roque De La Fuente, Hillary Clinton and Henry Hewes. The primary election is to allocate delegates to the two major parties’ national conventions. In the Democratic Party, pledged delegates are allocated on a proportional basis, depending upon the number of votes cast for each candidate. There is a smaller number of superdelegates who are not required to adhere to the results of the June 7 primary election. The Republican Party has a winner-take-all primary, where the candidate who wins the plurality of the vote receives all of the delegates to the Republican convention. The top two candidates for the voter-nominated offices will face off in the November election. Voters can cast a ballot for any candidate despite their listed party preference.
Voter-nominated offices include U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, State Senator and State Assemblyperson.
Only the two candidates receiving the most votes – regardless of party preference – move on to the General Election. A write-in candidate will only move on to the General Election if the candidate is one of the top two vote-getters in the Primary Election, according to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder Office.
Sample ballots have been mailed out; however, most who are running have a candidacy website to help voters make an informed decision.
The biggest field of competition is the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) who has been in office since 1993. There are 34 candidates; seven are running under the Democratic Party, 12 Republican Party, two Libertarian party, one with the Green party, one Peace and Freedom party and 11 with no party affiliation.
There are three candidates for the U.S. Representative seat: incumbent Adam Schiff (D), Sal Genovese (D) and Lenore Solis (R).
The State Senator in the 25th District had been Carol Liu, who termed out. There are six candidates vying for her seat: Chris Chahinian, Teddy Choi, Phlunte Riddle, Katherine Perez-Estolano and Anthony Portantino are all running on the Democratic ticket and Michael Antonovich is running on the Republican ticket.
The State Assembly office in the 43rd District, presently held by Mike Gatto who has also termed out, has eight candidates vying for the seat. Andrew Blumfeld, Dennis Bullock, Laura Friedman, Rajiv Dalal and Ardy Kassakhian are all running on the Democratic ticket. Alexandra Bustamante and Mark MacCarley are on the Republican ticket and Aaron Cervantes is on the American Independent ticket.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Office-Fifth District has eight candidates running to fill the seat vacated by Michael Antonovich due to term limits. He has held that office since 1980. This office is not party affiliated. Those running are Kathryn Barger, Mitchell Englander, Ara Najarian, Elan Carr, Rajpal Kahlon, Bob Huff, Billy Malone and Darrell Park.
There are seven judicial seats for the Superior Court that voters will be deciding on along with one candidate, Jackie Lacey, running for District Attorney.
In Glendale, voters will be deciding on Measure N. This Measure asks voters to decide if a Utility Users Tax that has been in place for many years should be repealed. For information on Measure N visit www.glendalevotes.org/candidates/ballot-measures. A “Yes” vote will repeal the UUT tax; a “No” vote will not repeal the UUT.
A state measure will also be on the ballot asking voters to decide on State Measure 50, Constitutional Amendment 17. Voters will have to decide how state legislators will deal with legislator members who are suspended.
In March 2014 three members were suspended, one for alleged money laundering, bribery, mail and wire fraud, one convicted of voting fraud and perjury and another who was given a five-year prison term for accepting bribes and trafficking in arms. At that time, the legislators were authorized to suspend members but could not suspend their salaries and other benefits of their office. A “Yes” vote would be in favor of the amendment. This would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber of the state legislature to suspend a member’s salary and benefits. It would also stop the suspended member from exercising any rights and privileges of his or her office. If passed, the amendment would require a two-thirds vote to end suspension as well.
Voters can find more about the June 7 primary, including local polling places, by visiting www.lavote.net or call (800) 815-2666.