Santa Monica had a notably high voter participation rate of 68 percent in the last general election and local democratic leaders are hoping that trend holds true for tomorrow’s primary, which features several locally impactful races. 

Ballots have already been sent out to all registered voters in Santa Monica. They feature state candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S House of Representatives, governor and attorney general; regional candidates for 3rd District Supervisor, Assembly District 51, LA County Sheriff and Senate District 26; and several other positions. 

Voters must postmark their mail-in ballots by June 7 or vote at an in-person center in order for their votes to be counted. On Election Day, vote centers will open at 7 a.m. and close by 8 p.m. and vote-by-mail drop boxes will also close at 8 p.m.

For state and federal positions, the top two vote getters in the primary will move on to the November general election. For County positions, election candidates may win office in the primary if they get more than 50 percent of the vote. If a single candidate fails to receive a majority, the top two vote getters will advance to the general election.

“We have several open seats in our region—County Supervisor, State Assembly, County Sheriff—where Santa Monica’s voice really needs to be a big part of those conversations and so that’s why it’s really important that whatever candidate you prefer, you get out there and show your support for them so that our voice is represented in our choices in November,” said Jon Katz, president of the Santa Monica Democratic Club.

When it comes to key regional races, 3rd District Supervisor and LA County Sheriff are gearing up to be the most competitive. 

There is no incumbent on the ballot for the 3rd District Supervisor as three term Supervisor and Santa Monica resident Sheila Kuehl is not running for re-election. Los Angeles County is divided into five supervisorial districts with each Supervisor representing approximately 2 million people in their respective district. 

“Just imagine being in a room with four of your friends and whatever you decide affects ten million people, so it’s just so powerful, so important,” said Katz. “We need to make sure we have somebody that represents us at the table because we’re going from having a Santa Monican in Sheila Kuehl to somebody who’s not from Santa Monica.”

Currently, the three highest fundraising candidates for 3rd District Supervisor are 27th District State Senator Henry Stern, 18th District State Senator Bob Hertzberg and West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath.

In the Sheriff’s race, incumbent Alex Villanueva is running against eight different challengers. While Villanueva easily swept into power in 2018, he has generated controversy during his first term due to his handling of deputy gangs and use of force as well as his political feuds with elected officials. 

“People are trying to see who do we want as our Sheriff and do we have anybody in here who is truly reflective of our values? Or maybe not? I mean, it’s a very tough job. He’s [Villanueva] certainly had his hands full over the last four years, so people are definitely looking at that one and we’ll see who ends up, if anybody, as Villanueva’s challenger,” said Katz.

Santa Monica resident and current State Senator Ben Allen is running for reelection unopposed, while Rick Chavez Zbur is the favored candidate for Assembly District 51, having outraised his single competitor Louis Ambramson approximately six to one. 

Election results will be updated on a rolling basis at https://results.lavote.gov/ starting when voting closes at 8 p.m.

Ballot drop box locations:

Montana Avenue Library, 1704 Montana Ave.

Santa Monica Library Main Branch, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave.

Marine Park, 1406 Marine St.

Vote Center Locations:

Grant Elementary School, 2368 Pearl St.

St. Anne Church and Shrine, 2011 Colorado. 

Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Blvd.

Civic Center Parking Structure, 330 Olympic Dr (2nd floor).

Joslyn Park, 633 Kensington Rd.

Professional Development Learning Ctr, 2802 4th St.

Marine Park, 1406 Marine St.

Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave.

Clara@smdp.com