If you’re asking yourself whether you should vote in the June primary, the short answer should be yes.
It has been said that President Kennedy won by one vote in each precinct. Of course, there are a lot of precincts across the United States, but it just goes to show the importance of one vote.
It’s easy to get discouraged. Campaigns go on far too long. So much money being spent when all of us are suffering with less pay, the rising cost of goods and services, or the services are cut altogether. Negative comments on television and radio can make a person feel voting is a waste of time. After all, nothing changes.
In June 2010, California voters approved Proposition 14, which created the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act. Except for the office of president and county central political committee members, offices that used to be known as “partisan offices” — state constitutional offices, U.S. Congress, and state legislative offices — are now known as “voter-nominated” offices.
Under the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, all candidates running in the primary election, regardless of their party preference, will appear on a single primary election ballot and voters can vote for any candidate. The top two overall vote-getters, not the top vote-getter from each qualified party, will move on to the general election.
This means no longer will a candidate from a particular party be able to sit out the June primary election if there is no opposing candidate from that party. Now all candidates will have to campaign and get enough votes in June to be one of the two top-vote getters, if they want to be one of the candidates on the November ballot.
The new open-primary law only applies to those offices noted above, so locally in this June election, with only two candidates running for supervisor in the 3rd District, one will be elected in June. But in the 4th District, where three candidates are running, the top two vote-getters will run off in November.
Voters should also notice if their ballot indicates “vote for one,” that is all they are allowed to vote for. Voting for more may cause your vote to be voided. But if it indicates “vote for two/three,” you can choose to vote for only one.
Due to redistricting, supervisor Districts 3 and 4 have been changed since the last election. District 3 now includes Guadalupe and Tanglewood, and District 4 includes parts of Santa Maria.
Did this new act discourage candidates from running? I don’t think so, since my sample ballot has 24 names to choose from running for senator. But if voters have not already determined who they will vote for in June, it will require them to do a lot of research before voting.
My sample ballot also included the full text of Measure U2012, the city of Santa Maria’s proposal to increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent, a measure that only voters living in Santa Maria will vote on. Our vote in June, not November, will determine the fate of this measure — another reason for us to read, research and vote in June.
This newspaper has done a good job trying to get the message out about the new open primary, and the importance of voting in June, but like most changes, the more it is talked about, the more people become aware of the change.
So yes, you should vote in June.
Joann Marmolejo is president of Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN). She can be reached at email@example.com. Looking Forward runs every Friday, providing a progressive viewpoint on local issues.