Central San Joaquin Valley voters have a lot to think about when heading to the voting booths Tuesday – if they get there.
Voters will cast ballots for a new mayor in Fresno, two new members on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, at least one new member on the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, and a host of local bond and tax measures. They also will whittle down the list of candidates seeking seats in Congress, the U.S. Senate and the state Assembly, as well as express who they like as the Democratic nominee for president.
But there could be a lot of no-shows for Tuesday’s primary, if mail ballot returns are any indicator. As of Friday, just 14.4 percent of Fresno County voters had returned their mail ballots; in the Tulare County-centric 26th Assembly District, it was even worse – just 11.5 percent.
The turnout is about the same as April’s special election – historically low-turnout affairs anyway – to fill the 31st state Assembly seat that Henry T. Perea vacated when he took a job with the pharmaceutical industry. (Physician Joaquin Arambula won the seat.)
Voters with mail-in ballots have until 8 p.m. Tuesday – when the polls close – to turn them in at polling places or have them postmarked and mailed.
Fresno County election officials are looking for voters – and for poll workers. Clerk Brandi Orth issued a call for Election Day help last week. Anyone willing to help (poll workers are paid $150 for a long day’s work – 6 a.m. to about 9:30 p.m.) can call Orth’s office at 559-600-1620.
Tuesday is California’s big day to choose between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. It’s a must-win election for Sanders if he is to remain in the race. The question Democrats will have to answer on their ballots is who they think has the best chance of beating presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump?
Among the big questions for local voters is who will be Fresno’s next mayor? Five candidates are seeking to take over from Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who must vacate her office at the end of her second four-year term.
Voters in the 31st state Assembly District, which covers western Fresno County and a portion of Fresno, will have something of a do-over on Tuesday, choosing among the same three candidates who competed in the April special election.
Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, who is now filling out the remainder of Henry T. Perea’s term, is seeking a full two-year term. He is facing off once more against Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier and Caruthers engineer Ted Miller.
California primary election
Election Day: Tuesday
Polls open: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Voters who have mail-in ballots can drop them off at any polling location. (Mail-in ballots must be delivered or postmarked on Election Day to be counted.)
Get help: For more information, voters in the central San Joaquin Valley can contact their elections officials.
Keep up with all the action at www.fresnobee.com/election (Local News/Election 2016 on your mobile app), including:
Get informed: Get inside the heads of candidates with The Bee’s Voter Guide. Candidates share their platforms in many high-profile races. fblinks.com/vguide
Get involved: Read past coverage of key races.
COUNTY ELECTION OFFICES
Fresno: 2221 Kern St., Fresno; fblinks.com/fcvote or (559) 600-VOTE (8683)
Tulare: 5951 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia; fblinks.com/tcvote or (559) 624-7300
Kings: 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford; fblinks.com/kingvote or (559) 852-4401
Madera: 200 W. Fourth St., Madera; fblinks.com/madvote or (559) 675-7720
Merced: 2222 M St., Merced; fblinks.com/mervote or (209) 385-7541
Mariposa: 4982 10th St., Mariposa; fblinks.com/marvote or (209) 966-2007