Braulio Peralta casts his vote Tuesday in the primary election at the Watsonville Civic Plaza building.
(Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)
WATSONVILLE — Braulio Peralta went to his polling station on the upper floor of the Watsonville Civic Plaza Tuesday, casting his ballot for Santa Cruz County Supervisor, California State Assembly and a host of local issues.
With the general election months away and few compelling issues on the ballot, Peralta was among a small showing of voters who showed up for the primary election.
Peralta, whose family owns a machine shop in Watsonville, declined to say which county supervisor candidate got his vote, but said his decision was based on the candidate’s vow to help protect the rights of small businesses.
“Right now small businesses are hurting,” he said. “And they’re what keep us going.”
One small-businessman who is disappointed today is Daniel Beckett of Corralitos, who lost to opponent Zach Friend, police department spokesman, for the Santa Cruz County Supervisor 2nd District seat by nearly 40 percent. Despite being outspent by a significant amount, Beckett put up memorable “Check it for Beckett” signs all over the south county and participated in many debates.
Former Watsonville mayor Antonio Rivas finished a distant third, while tavern owner Rich McInnis and water watchdog Doug Deitch collectively got 13 percent.
At the polling station at MacQuiddy Elementary School, only 21 people had come to vote as of 1:25 p.m., a small number compared to the 739 in the precinct, said elections inspector Judy Lazenby.
“I would have thought it would have been more,” she said.
Lazenby pointed out that increasing numbers of voters are choosing to forgo the trip to their polling stations to vote by mail.
According to San Francisco-based Field Poll, some 55 percent of California voters were expected to mail in their ballot.
Elections inspector Tony Gregorio said that only 25 people had voted at his station at Landmark Elementary.
Gregorio said the low voter turnout might also be attributed to the fact that primary elections traditionally fail to garner the interest of presidential elections.
The Field Poll predicted that no more than 6 million voters would turn out for the election, just 35 percent of those registered in California.
That’s a sharp decline from the 2008 presidential primary, which brought in just fewer than 57 percent of California’s voters. Tuesday’s low was expected to surpass the previous record in 1996, when just 42 percent voted.
Santa Cruz County Elections Clerk Gail Pellerin called the local turnout “pathetically low.”
For the complete article see the 06-07-2012 issue.
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