Polls open for San Diego primaries

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – More than 1,400 polling places are open Tuesday for a primary election in which San Diegans will vote for mayor, decide between two ballot measures and choose among numerous legislative and congressional candidates.

Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler told City News Service that early indications point to a low turnout — in the neighborhood of 40 percent.

Up to last Saturday, 2,212 residents took advantage of a few weeks of early voting at the registrar's office, compared to 8,535 in a similar period two years ago, Seiler said. Roughly 32 percent of the 761,000 or so mail-in ballots that had been sent out were returned by midday Monday, she said.

Polls will be open until 8 p.m., and the first batch of results — from the early voters and mail-in ballots — is expected to be released soon after, according to Seiler. She said the first results from precincts should be available by 10 p.m.

San Diegans will choose between four experienced elected officials for mayor — Councilman Carl DeMaio, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. A fifth candidate, Tobiah Pettus, is also listed on the ballot. Steven Greenwald and John “Woody” Woodrum are write-in candidates.

The city of San Diego ballot measures pit supporters against organized labor, which opposes both.

Proposition A would, if approved, forbid the city from forcing contractors on major municipal projects to submit to Project Labor Agreements, which backers believe are too union-friendly. Proposition B seeks to change the city's pension system by giving most new employees 401(k) plans instead of enrolling them in the pension system, and only base salary over the next five years would be calculated into a worker's eventual retirement pay.

The five odd-numbered San Diego City Council seats are up for election, and two crowded races could be close.

In District 1, incumbent Sherri Lightner is trying to fend off businessman and former city pension board member Ray Ellis, attorney Bryan Pease and Dennis Ridz, the chairman of the Torrey Pines Planning Board. The district encompasses La Jolla and Carmel Valley.

In the open District 7 seat, community volunteer Rick Hauptfeld, retiree Nathan Johnson, home health advocate Mat Kostrinsky and businessman Scott Sherman are facing each other. The district, which includes Tierrasanta, Del Cerro and San Carlos, is being vacated by incumbent Marti Emerald, who is seeking to take over the newly created District 9.

Among San Diego's congressional delegation, longtime Democratic target Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, needs to fend off a long list of challengers, including Port Commissioner Scott Peters, former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, and ex-Santee Mayor Jack Dale. Peters is also a Democrat, while Dale is running as an independent.

In the local races, unless someone takes more than 50 percent of the vote to win outright, the top two vote-getters will face each other in the November general election. In the congressional and state Legislative races, the top two vote-getters will also square off in November, regardless of political party.


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