Early voting begins, about one fifth of Mono County ballots already in

With only a week and a half to go before the cliffhanger of this 2012 presidential election finally comes to an end on Nov. 6, Monday marked the last day to register to vote in Mono County.

Many people have already voted.

Early voting ballots are currently trickling in. Mono County officials said the county has received 949 mail-in ballots so far—about a fifth of the county’s total of 5,492 registered voters.

If residents have not received a vote-by-mail ballot by Oct. 30, there is still time to contact the elections office and find out what happened, or to request another ballot, election officials said.

“People can request a vote by mail until Oct. 30, the last day we can mail one out in Mono County,” said Linda Romero, assistant Mono County clerk. “If they live outside of the county, this could be risky (there might not be enough turn-around time through the mail) or they can come to a polling place and vote provisionally.”

Romero said voters who don’t mail in their mail-in ballot can bring it to the nearest polling place and it will be counted, as long as it is received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Four communities in Mono County are mail-in only: Chalfant, Benton, Lee Vining, and Swall Meadows. Due to cost and convenience issues, these communities were determined to go vote-by-mail several years ago, she said.

In Mono County, Republicans, at 2,166, outnumber Democrats, but just barely, with 1,949 voters.
Another 1,449 voters in the county register as “No party preference,” Romero said.

One thing to be aware of this year is that the ballot has changed since the last election. Due to a recently passed proposition, the “Voter Nominated” law, voters are able to vote for state assembly candidates regardless of their political party, with the top two candidates now on the ballot.

The top two candidates this year, Rico Oller and Frank Bigelow, are Republican, Romero said.

The presidential race, however, is still party-nominated.

Local Mono County races appear on the ballot much like they always have. There are nine local candidates running for five open seats this year—two candidates running for the District 4 Mono County Supervisor seat, three candidates running for two Mammoth Unified School District board seats and four candidates running for two Eastern Sierra Unified School District board seats.

Eastern Sierra Unified School District voters can vote for one candidate from Bridgeport and one from Lee Vining, Romero said. The voter is not restricted to voting for a candidate that lives in the same area as the voter.

Those voting Nov. 6 need to vote at their assigned polling location. The county is divided into precincts, 13 in all, and each has a designated voting place. There are six polling places in the county, with Mammoth Lakes’ polling sites serving several precincts in one polling place.

For more information (including voting locations), visit www.monocounty.ca.gov/elections or call 760-932-5537.