County voter turnout hits 17 percent, higher in 32nd CD

While voter turnout continues to be low in Los Angeles County – 17 percent as of 7 p.m., according to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder – officials are saying it has been higher in the 32nd Congressional District.

“We expected more of a spike here… and we have seen more activity in the district today,” said Efrain Escobedo, Executive Liason for the Registrar-Recorder.

While voters trickled into polls throughout most of the day, by 6 p.m. a steady stream of voters were entering the precinct at Shirpser Elementary in El Monte.

“I have been very surprised for a special election… I am very pleased at the turnout,” said David Leeper, a supervisor at the precinct.

 

 

Gov. M.I.A.

32nd Congressional Candidates Judy Chu and Gil Cedillo have kept us up to date with their whereabouts today, letting us know things like what time they voted to what times they will be at the campaign headquarters to what time their election parties will be.

Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came to Industry yesterday to plead for voter support on the propositions, is M.I.A. Instead, he is in Washington, D.C. announcing an agreement on fuel efficient vehicle emissions. The Governor, however, defends his trip.

 

Young voters a no show

Civic duty, patriotism and a $105 paycheck. That’s what inspired James Nguyen, 28, to serve as a pollworker in today’s election.

Even though he was working the polls, Nguyen was among the youngest faces spotted at the West Covina precint at Monte Vista Elementary School.

Most of the voters are 50 and older,” said Nguyen, who had voted absentee.

Other precinct workers noted that few voters 18 to 25 showed up.

For Charter Oak High School senior James Edwards, 17, who worked at the polling place at the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control in West Covina, he missed the opportunity to vote in this election by just three days.

“My 18th birthday is on Friday,” he said. 

So why did he choose to work at the polls?

“To get a day off from school,” he said. “And to get paid.”

 

Slow day at the polls

Even though Monte Vista Elementary School, 1615 W. Eldred Ave. in West Covina served as a polling place for two precincts, one poll worker described the day as a vacation. Combined, only 141 people cast their votes.

By 1 p.m., inspector James Nguyen said that only 76 voters had turned out at his precinct. Chip Holmes, inspector for the other precinct at the school, recorded 65 voters. At that rate, Holmes predicted it would be a total turnout of about 12 percent.

“A day like today is easy on everybody,” said Holmes, who has worked the polls for the past seven years.

Over at the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control at at 1145 N. Azusa Canyon Road in West Covina, Denise Yarbarough of Montclair sat in a voter-less room at 1:30 p.m.

What’s it been like today for her?

“Slow,” she said.

About 80 ballots had been cast out of the 1,500 registered voters in the precint, coming out to 5 percent of registered voters.

There was a slight rush when the polls opened at 7 a.m., but that quickly died down. The polls close at 8 p.m.

“There have been others that have been slow like this,” said Yarbarough, who has served as a pollworker for nearly 12 years. “It all depends on what’s on the ballot.”

At a glance: Proposition 1F

What would it do?

Prohibit raises for elected state officials in any year that a deficit in the state budget is projected as of June.

What are the objectives?

To
keep legislators and other elected officials from getting unseemly
raises when the budget is in deficit and services are being cut.

To let voters feel like they’re getting back at legislators with this rather mild measure.

What does it cost taxpayers?

Nothing.
Voting for it allows taxpayers to blow off a little pent-up steam; some
voters might save a couple of points on their blood pressure.

What’s the effect on the general fund? On the current deficit?

The general fund would be about $500,000 more flush in any year there’s a projected deficit.

Could cut the coming year’s deficit, projected to be in the billions, by half a million.

Who’s for it? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, legislative leaders, California Chamber of Commerce, California Democratic Party.

Who’s against it? The California Republican Party.

Interesting tidbits: 1F is the only proposition leading in the most recent polling; about 71 percent approve.

There
are separate proposals out there for stronger measures, such as not
paying legislators for days that the budget is late or not allowing
them to accept campaign donations when the budget is late.

At a glance: Proposition 1E

What would it do?

Temporarily
redirect some Proposition 63 funding for services to the mentally ill
to the general fund. Proposition 63, passed by voters in 2004, put a
personal income tax surcharge of 1 percent on taxable income over $1
million to fund new and expanded mental health programs.

What is the objective?

To help patch
the budget deficit. The Proposition 63 account is running a surplus,
and the governor and legislative leaders want to grab the money off the
table for the general fund.

What does it cost taxpayers? Nothing.

What’s the effect on the general fund? On the deficit?

1E would save the general fund about $230 million a year for two years, reducing the deficit by the same amount.

Who’s for it? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, legislative leaders, California Chamber of Commerce, California Teachers Association.

Who’s against it?
Agencies that deliver mental health programs under Proposition 63,
Mental Health Association in California, California Republican Party.

Interesting tidbit: State Senate President Pro Tem
Darrell Steinberg and Rusty Selix, executive director of the Mental
Health Association in California, co-authored Proposition 63. Steinberg
favors Proposition 1E and Selix opposes it.

At a glance: Proposition 1D

What would it do?

Redirect
funds from the state and county First 5 commissions to the general
fund. It would reduce the funding from tobacco taxes that, under
Proposition 10, goes for First 5 programs like health access and school
readiness.

What is the objective?

To help patch
the budget deficit. The First 5 account is running a surplus, and the
governor and legislative leaders want to grab the money off the table
for the general fund.

What does it cost taxpayers? Nothing.

What’s the effect on the general fund? On the deficit?

1D would save the general fund up to $608 million in 2009-10 and $268
million annually for the following four years, reducing the deficit by
the same amounts.

Who’s for it? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,
legislative leaders, California Chamber of Commerce, Association of
Regional Center Agencies, California Teachers Association.

Who’s against it? Agencies that deliver health
services and school readiness programs in association with First 5,
California Republican Party, Rob Reiner.

Interesting tidbit: Voters passed Proposition 10 in
1998 to direct tobacco tax money to early childhood development. Twenty
percent of the revenue goes to the state commission and 80 percent goes
to First 5 commissions in the 58 counties.

At a glance: Proposition 1C

What would it do?

Allow borrowing up to $5 billion from future lottery profits to help close the deficit.

Allow bigger lottery payouts and more marketing to attract more play and more revenue.

End payments to schools from lottery receipts.

Direct
about $1 billion from the general fund to schools to replace the lost
lottery money. The first year, that would be in addition to the
Proposition 98 funding guarantee for schools; in subsequent years it
would be part of that guaranteed funding.

What is the objective?

To reduce the current budget deficit by up to $5 billion.

What does it cost taxpayers?

Nothing directly.

What’s the effect on the general fund? On the deficit?

The
current deficit would be reduced by $5 billion. Effects on the general
fund are difficult to predict. If lottery changes produce more revenue,
the debt could be paid back with money left over for the general fund;
if not, the general fund could be reduced due to debt payments.
Education funding would probably grow faster than with the current
lottery payments, possibly reducing the general fund and adding to
future deficits.

Who’s for it? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,
legislative leaders, California Chamber of Commerce, California
Teachers Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association.

Who’s against it? The California Republican Party.

Interesting tidbit: 1C allows the Legislature to borrow again against future lottery profits at any time.