How new voting rules could affect you on Tuesday

Jun 6, 2016

Central Coast election offices are busy preparing for Tuesday’s Presidential Primary.

Recent legislation is changing the criteria for which ballots can be counted. Mail-in ballots postmarked on or before election day, and those received by the Clerk-Recorder within three days after the election are eligible to be counted. 

Together the election offices in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties have issued nearly a quarter million vote-by-mail ballots for the June 7th Primary.

On Thursday local elections officials said about a third of the mail-in ballots that were sent out for this primary have already been returned by voters.

Mark Baldassare is the Survey Director and President for the Public Policy Institute of California. He said the California Electorate does not reflect the state’s racial and economic diversity. Voters tend to be more white, affluent and older.

“People who vote in our elections have had some college education. They are homeowners and many of them tend to be over 45 years of age. And that has been pretty consistent findings that we’ve seen in our polling over time,” said Baldassare. 

Baldassare said primary elections tend to get the lowest voter turnout, but this election might be different because of the Democratic race.

“Many new voters could participate in this election, because since the beginning of the year we’ve seen a big surge in voter registration. People have gone online to register to vote,” he said.

The deciding factor for Democrats this Tuesday will likely be in the hands of no-party-preference voters who choose Democratic ballots.

That’s nearly 5,000 voters in San Luis Obispo County and about 3,400 in Santa Barbara County.

Those who didn’t already request a Democratic ballot can do so at the polls. Only registered Republicans can vote on a GOP ballot.