California’s statewide primary election was marked Tuesday by light turnout at polling sites and few problems flagged by election officials even as the state tested out some sweeping changes. The primary was providing the first statewide run on a top-two voting system and newly redrawn legislative and congressional districts. Voters also were weighing in on a cigarette tax and changes to term limits. San Diego and San Jose – the nation’s eighth- and 10th-largest cities – are being closely watched as voters decide on heated measures to curb retirement benefits for current government workers. San Diego also has a fierce mayoral fight.
… Others who turned out were hopeful that the new top-two system will deliver more competitive contests and more moderate candidates even as they were confronted with a longer, more complicated ballot. In some cases, candidates of the same party are vying to meet again in November. “I think it helps to level the playing field,” said attorney Susan Hyman after casting her Democratic ballot at a skilled nursing facility in Long Beach. “The districts have been too entrenched by party.”
State election officials reported few problems as polls opened for the day. Voters in Sacramento County may have noticed Chinese added to English and Spanish on their ballots. The move was prompted by recent census changes, said Kim Alexander of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation.