Low turnout expected in Merced election today

tmiller@mercedsunstar.comNovember 4, 2013 

SUN-STAR

Vote by mail technicians Jill McCabe, left, and Ginger Kahl sort vote by mail ballots by precincts in 2012 in the Elections Office in the Merced County Administration Building on M and 23rd streets.

MERCED SUN-STAR

If recent history is an accurate barometer for local elections, there will likely be low turnout at the polls in Merced and Los Banos.

The last election held in Merced County with only local offices on the ballot drew about 12 percent of registered voters. That’s compared with 51 percent of registered voters who turned out in 2010, the last time the ballot had county and state elections, and the 64 percent of registered voters who made their voices heard in last year’s presidential election.

Merced County has 94,516 registered voters, according to the Merced County Registrar of Voters.

The polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m.

Voters will be asked to fill three Merced City Council seats and the office of mayor.

Two candidates are facing off to be mayor: incumbent Stan Thurston and Noah Lor.

Eight candidates are in the running for the three open Merced City Council seats. They are Michael Belluomini, Kevin Blake, Alex Gallardo Jr., Jana Mowrer, Peter Padilla, incumbent Josh Pedrozo, Chris Ramirez and Monica Kay Villa.

Merced voters will also decide whether to pass Measure J, which would align local elections with their gubernatorial and presidential counterparts. Officials say it could save the city some cash and increase voter turnout. A “yes” vote would align elections.

In Los Banos, city officials are asking for a continued redirection of a portion of a half-cent sales tax for the salaries of eight first responders. A “yes” vote on Measure K would allow two firefighters and six police officers to continue to be paid from facilities funding.

The Turlock Irrigation District is also holding an election. Incumbent Ron Macedo faces Darrell Monroe.

Check your sample ballots for your polling place. If you do not have a sample ballot, or have any other questions, go to www.mercedelections.org.

Questions can also be directed to the Registrar of Voters Office, (209) 385-7541.

Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or tmiller@mercedsunstar.com.

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