BY MATTHEW HALL

For many, the 2016 election can’t come soon enough and almost have of the Santa Monica electorate appear unwilling to wait for Nov. 8 to cast their vote.

Of the City’s 68,897 registered voters, 30,917 requested Vote By Mail (VBM) ballots and voters have until Nov. 1 to request a mail ballot.

Santa Monica contracts with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office for election services and City Hall will be the local ballot drop off location for mail ballots.

According to the City, residents can request a VBM ballot from the county clerk online at lavote.net, or by phone at (562) 466-1323. Completed VBM ballots can be dropped-off at either the Santa Monica City Clerk’s Office (City Hall, 1685 Main Street, Room 102), any LA County Clerk District office or most City Clerk’s Offices. Drop-Off Locations will begin accepting ballots on Tuesday, Oct. 11 through Monday, Nov. 7 during regular business hours.

There are more than 18 million registered voters in California representing about 73 percent of the total eligible voters. Of those registered, about 45 percent are Democrats, 27 percent are Republicans and 23 percent have no party affiliation. Voter registration has increased by about six percent from the last Presidential election in 2012 when voter turnout of about 72 percent resulted in 13.2 million votes cast.

This year there are five candidates for president, 53 contested Congressional races, 100 Legislative races, 17 statewide ballot measures and 421 local tax/bond measures.

In Santa Monica 10 candidates are running for four seats on City Council, four candidates are running for two seats on the Rent Control Board and four candidates are running for three seats on the Santa Monica College Board. The election for the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District was canceled because the number of candidates running equaled the available seats.

According to election officials, mail ballots are designed to encourage voter turnout but the ballots sent out this week are not the first to be cast this year.

Active duty military and American’s living abroad received ballots in August.

About half of the votes Californians cast last year were through mail ballots and the trend points towards less and less day-of voting.

This year, an additional 18 counties have been authorized to set up vote centers for receiving drop off ballots in the days leading up to election day.

Residents can register to vote through Oct. 24.

For more information on the November 8 Presidential General Election, visit voterguide.sos.ca.gov, lavote.net, and smvote.org.

editor@smdp.com

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