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California reaches a record-high 18.2 million registered voters

Posted: November 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.

A record 18.2 million voters are eligible to cast ballots in today’s presidential election, up by nearly a million people compared to four years ago, California’s secretary of state said.

But the percentage of those who registered to vote compared to those eligible to sign up to cast ballots is about 76.7 percent and has remained relatively steady for more than a decade, state Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a news release.

“Registering to vote is easier now than it was four years ago, yet fewer people actually registered in this final 45-day window than did in 2008,” Bowen said Friday.

“This makes it clear that it’s not just a question of making voter registration easier; it’s really about what inspires people to care about their democracy and be part of the decision-making process.”

Some 21 percent of those Californians who are registered for today’s election signed up as having no party preference, Bowen said.

Two changes were expected to make California balloting less partisan-driven this year: the open primary in June and redrawn districts that organizers said would be less gerrymandered.

Still, Santa Clarita Valley residents face ballot choices that offer a Republican or a Democrat in all local districts.

In the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, 20-year incumbent Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, has faced the most active opposition he’s seen in years from San Fernando Valley podiatrist and Democrat Dr. Lee Rogers, who launched an attack on McKeon’s record on multiple fronts.

McKeon announced he would seek re-election the day after the California Citizens Redistricting Commission released new boundaries for congressional districts. The New York Times rates the 25th District “solid Republican.”

In the 38th Assembly District, which takes in most of the Santa Clarita Valley, Republican Scott Wilk fended off two other contenders from his party during the primary and faces Democrat Edward Headington for the district being vacated by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, who was termed out of office.

Headington, who lives in Granada Hills, runs a small public affairs firm and has worked for a number of other Democrats in public office before throwing his own hat into the ring.

Wilk, a longtime Santa Clarita Valley resident, serves on the College of the Canyon Board of Trustees and also has worked for Republican public office holders in the past.

Running in the 36th Assembly District, which takes in a sliver of Saugus and north Canyon Country, are former Lancaster City Councilman Ron Smith, a Republican, and Steve Fox, an attorney who has served on the Antelope Valley College Board of Trustees and who says he’s running as a “conservative Democrat.”

The two are vying for the Assembly seat being vacated by Republican Steve Knight, who is running for the 21st Senate District.

Knight is the son of staunch California Republican legislator and former test pilot William J. “Pete” Knight and is endorsed by both George and Sharon Runner, longtime Antelope Valley Republican leaders and former members of both the Assembly and state Senate. Knight is seeking the Senate seat of Sharon Runner, who leaves office in January.

Running against Knight is Star Moffatt, a Democrat who has made several appearances at Santa Clarita Valley campaign events during the past few months. Moffatt is running a grassroots campaign.

The Santa Clarita Valley is split between two Senate districts; the 21st takes in the lion’s share of the SCV valley but the 27th encompasses the western valley.

Formerly represented by Republican Tony Strickland, who is running for Congress, residents of the 27th Senate District have a choice of longtime Democratic legislator Fran Pavley or newcomer Republican Todd Zink.

Pavley — whose Senate district was redrawn from the generally liberal-leaning western Los Angeles County area to take in parts of the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura County — had raised the most campaign money among the eight candidates for California legislative seats in today’s election by Oct. 20. Her war chest stood at $1.9 million.

She has a history of support for education and environmental issues.

Zink, a decorated Marine Corps lieutenant and deputy district attorney, has made education reform a keynote of his campaign. He had raised the second largest campaigning fund at $1.36 million.

Democrat Jackie Lacey And Republican Alan Jackson are on the ballot to replace longtime District Attorney Steve Cooley. Cooley has backed Lacey for the post.

Also on the ballot are 10 state ballot measures, three county ballot measures and Measure QS, a bond measure for Castaic Union School District.

The state measures cover topics ranging from capital punishment to labels for genetically engineered foods. Most controversial is Proposition 30, the measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would raise income tax for those making more than $250,000 a year, and sales tax for everyone, to fund public schools.

Another schools-funding measure is Proposition 38, which would raise income taxes statewide to fund schools but exclude higher education from the recipients.

If both measures pass, the one to receive the most votes would take effect.

Measure QS is the most recent in a series of bond measures for Santa Clarita Valley schools since 2008. So far, all have passed.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.



Election sample ballot

(Vote for one party)
Jill Stein,
for president (Green)
Cheri Honkala,
for vice president
Thomas Hoefling, for president
(American Independent)
Robert Ornelas,
for vice president
Mitt Romney,
for president (Republican)
Paul Ryan,
for vice president
Gary Johnson,
for president (Libertarian)
James P. Gray,
for vice president
Roseanne Barr,
for president
(Peace and Freedom)
Cindy Sheehan,
for vice president
Barack Obama,
for president (Democratic)
Joseph Biden,
for vice president

(Vote for one)
Elizabeth Emken (Republican)
monprofit executive
Dianne Feinstein (Democratic)
U.S. Senator

(25th District-vote for one)
Lee C. Rogers (Democratic)
Howard P. “Buck” Mckeon (Republican)
U.S. Representative

(21st District-vote for one)
Steve Knight
Star Moffatt
Legal office manager

(27th District-vote for one)
Fran Pavley
State senator
Todd Zink
Deputy district attorney

(38th District-Vote for one)
Edward Headington (Democratic)
Small-business owner
Scott Thomas Wilk (Republican)
Small-business owner

(36th District-vote for one)
Steve Fox
Ron Smith

(Vote for one)
Jackie Lacey
Chief deputy
district attorney
Alan Jackson
Gang homicide prosecutor

(Yes or No votes)
Prop. 30: Temporary taxes to fund education
Prop. 31: Two-year state budget
Prop. 32: Political contributions by payroll deduction
Prop. 33: Auto insurance prices based on driver’s history of insurance coverage
Prop. 34: Death penalty
Prop. 35: Human trafficking
Prop. 36: Three Strikes Law revision
Prop, 37: Genetically engineered foods labeling.
Prop. 38: Tax to fund education and early childhood programs
Prop. 39: Taxes for multi-state businesses
Prop. 40: Redistricting

(Yes or No votes)
A: Making the L.A. County Assessor an appointed position
B: Requirement of using condoms in adult films
J: Continuing sales tax for traffic improvements

QS: Bond measure for Castaic Union School District


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