April 22, 2012 - Voters need to prepare for new ways
Paper: Santa Maria Times (CA)
Title: Voters need to prepare for new ways
Date: April 22, 2012
It may seem early to start writing about the June primary election, but there good reasons for you to start your research soon. In fact, now would be a good time.
As usual, voters will be confronted with several ballot initiatives, and the number is likely to swell further between the June primary and the November general election. Also as usual, we’ll take a look at the June initiatives and render a recommendation, if warranted, in plenty of time for mail-in voters to consider.
But there are other new wrinkles in the electoral process that could cause problems for voters, mostly the fact that voting districts were realigned in recent months, and the person you voted for or against in the last election may not even be on the ballot you’ll consider in June and November.
Good cases in point are the 3rd and 4th supervisorial districts here in the North County. The new boundaries move Guadalupe into the 3rd District, while parts of Santa Maria now shift over to the 4th. Folks accustomed to voting for the 5th District supervisor would be well-advised to check the new district lines, to see which candidate they need to focus on.
A good place to start that process would be the Joseph Centeno Betteravia Government Center, 511 E. Lakeside Parkway in Santa Maria, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, April 24.
The League of Women Voters has invited all candidates for county supervisor in the 3rd and 4th districts to express their views and answer questions from voters. The forum, co-sponsored by Lee Central Coast Newspapers, is free and open to the public, and we encourage you to be there.
The 3rd District race will be a rematch between incumbent Doreen Farr and challenger Steve Pappas. As you may recall, their race was decided by fewer than 1,000 votes four years ago, which provoked Pappas to file a lawsuit that traveled a torturous route through the legal process, until Farr was finally declared the winner.
The 4th District race features long-time incumbent Joni Gray, whose tenure is being challenged by farmer Peter Adam and former Lompoc mayor Joyce Howerton.
There are enough differences of opinion and politics in both races to ensure a lively forum on Tuesday night.
Returning to the statewide election: There is another reason voters need to arm themselves with as much information as possible before entering the ballot booth or filling out the mail-in ballot. For the first time in California’s political history, the primary ballots will not be separated by party affiliation.
A party’s ballot will now contain the names of all the candidates in a given race. And to add more confusion, for the first time ever, the top two vote-getters in the primary move on to a face-off in the November general election. It could be a Republican vs. a Democrat, or it could be a Republican vs. a Republican or Democrat vs. Democrat.
Here’s another curve ball — the Democrat and American Independent parties have opened their primaries to “no-party option” voters, but the Republican and Peace and Freedom parties have not, which means “no-party” voters may receive a Democrat ballot or an American Independent party ballot that lists all those parties’ candidates for president and for party central committees, but they may not receive a Republican or Peace and Freedom party ballot.
See what we mean about girding yourself for the new election format? Get a jump start at Tuesday night’s forum. It will be a gold opportunity to size up your county supervisor candidates.
Record Number: 135f5492a02b7ef373fc555884541fc8a3a2821
Copyright, 2012, Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, CA