With television advertisements and lawn signs around every turn, campaign season is in full gear, but time is running out to register to cast a vote in the June election. Prospective voters have until the close of business Monday to drop off their registration forms at the Humboldt County Elections Office or get them postmarked if they wish to participate in the June primary election. The June 5 ballot will feature a number of local races — including those for 1st, 2nd and 3rd District supervisor — and candidates vying to represent the area in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Assembly. The election will also be a historic one. It’s the first time the state will roll out its new “Top Two” primary system, which will see voters choose from a single list of candidates — regardless of political affiliations — for state and national offices other than that of president. The new system will then see the top two vote getters move on to a runoff in the general election in November. The new system does not apply to local races, in which candidates can still win outright and avoid a runoff election by winning 50 percent plus one vote in June.
Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich said she wants to minimize confusion surrounding the new system and make sure voters understand that they can only vote for a single candidate in each of the races. ”I dislike that they call it a “top two” primary because, occasionally, voters might get the mistaken impression that they can vote for two candidates in each of the races,” Crnich said. “If they do vote for more than one candidate in any of those races, it’s considered an over vote, and their vote will not be counted.”
Crnich also advised that voters pay special attention to their sample ballots this year, noting that some supervisorial districts have changed since the last election, and some folks may find themselves in districts other than those in which they have voted for years. ”People really need to pick up those sample ballots and look closely at them — study them — and notice if their district has changed,” Crnich said, adding that the first numeral in their precinct number identifies which supervisorial district they are in.