With the June 3 gubernatorial primary election less than a month away, vote-by-mail ballots are now arriving at Turlockers’ homes.
Voting by mail is becoming increasingly popular, both in Stanislaus County and nationwide. Locally, 69,821 voted in the last June election, held in 2012; only 2,508 people actually voted at the polls. In the most recent local election, held in November 2013, more than 97 percent of voters voted by mail.
Three highly-contested local elections await Turlock voters.
Turlock City Councilwoman Amy Bublak will face Don Gaekle for the position of Stanislaus County Assessor. Bublak is a Modesto Police Officer, while Gaekle currently serves as Stanislaus County Assessor after a mid-term appointment.
Incumbent Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager will face Frank Carson, a Modesto-based attorney and businessman.
Incumbent Stanislaus County Sheriff-Coroner Adam Christianson will face Tom Letras, a deputy sheriff from Ceres.
Additionally, Turlockers will vote in open primaries. The top two votegetters in each of three races will face off on the November ballot regardless of party affiliation; theoretically it is possible for two Democrats to face off with no Republican on the November ballot, or vice versa.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) will look to defend his seat against Michael Eggman (D), a Turlock farmer, and Mike Barkley (D), a Manteca lawyer and CPA who also ran for Denham’s seat in the 2012 primary.
State Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) will defend her seat against Harinder Grewal (D), a Stanislaus County agricultural inspector from Keyes who also serves on the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees.
State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) will be challenged by Shawn K. Bagley (D), a produce broker and businessman from Salinas who serves as a member of the Democratic National Convention.
Two propositions are also on the June ballot: Proposition 41, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014, which would sell $600 million in bonds to fund affordable housing for low-income and homeless veterans, and Proposition 42, which would require local governments to comply with public access laws, but would cut tens of millions of dollars in state funding to comply with those laws.
Some races have already been decided, due to lack of opposition. County Superintendent of Schools Tom Chagnon, County Treasurer-Tax Collector Gordon B. Ford, County Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan, and County Auditor-Controller Lauren Klein will all retain their seats, as will nine Stanislaus County Superior Court judges.