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May election is a go

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California legislators finally passed a budget last week; now they need voter approval to implement some of their deficit-reducing ideas.

There will be a statewide special election on May 19, forcing local voting officials to cobble together polling places in just a few weeks.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger officially announced the special election just 88 days before it will take place. There will be seven measures on the ballot. Those measures include new methods for education financing, changes to the state lottery, shifts in childhood development funds, redirecting some money into the state general fund, and tightening rules on salary increases for state officers. The arguments are available online at ss.ca.gov.

Locally, the special election is a logistical and financial pain. SLO County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald said her office is locating available polling places. Already the available places from previous elections have shrunk by about half, and many smaller precincts are being shifted toward vote-by-mail only. Rodewald estimated about additional 20,000 registered county voters will have to vote by mail this year because of staff constraints. “It doesn’t always make people happy, but again we’re doing it just for this election and it will help keep the cost down.”

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