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Low voter turnout expected Tuesday

All five budget measures trailing in the polls
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Voter turnout in Placer County could range from 41 to 44 percent on Tuesday for the statewide general election, elections chief Jim McCauley said. McCauley, the county clerk and registrar of voters, said that as of Friday morning, 43 percent of the county’s 114,286 absentee ballots had been returned. That reflects about 22 percent of the 194,939 registered voters in the county. It’s doubtful that any last-minute campaign stratagems would sway voters to turn out at the polls in greater-than-expected numbers, McCauley said. In comparison to state predictions, the Placer County voter forecast is better than average. The Secretary of State’s office is predicting a turnout of between 25 and 33 percent for the May 19 election. The Associated Press has reported that all five budget-related measures are trailing in the polls. Only the sixth, which would cap elected officials’ pay during deficit years, was winning majority support, AP said. McCauley has been trimming expenditures this year on the county election budget in an attempt to prevent any extra funding requests from the county’s beleaguered general fund. The election will cost between $750,000 and $950,000. He said he’ll send a bill to the state for that sum. Cost-saving measures have included finding a way to break a monopoly on ballot printers, reducing the number of polling places by about a third from the last major election, and asking poll workers to waive all or part of their pay on election day. The payroll in the February election was close to $220,000. “Even a 15 percent savings would be substantial,” McCauley said. “The public understands that every dollar counts. I’m hoping election workers will have a big heart.” Newcastle business owner Terri Hesser is a registered voter who has already turned in her absentee ballot. “I care,” Hesser said. “I hope people vote. A lot of people start to complain and the first thing I ask them is “Are you voting?” The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- Key ballot propositions at a glance: Prop. 1A would impose new state spending restrictions and temporarily extend a series of tax increases adopted by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in February to help erase a $42 billion budget shortfall. Prop. 1B would give schools and community colleges $9.3 billion educators say they are due under Proposition 98, the minimum funding requirements imposed by voters in 1988. But the proposition would delay the payments and spread them over several years to ease the state’s current budget woes. Prop. 1C would allow the state to borrow $5 billion based on the value of future lottery revenue. Prop. 1D would tap nearly $1.7 billion in early childhood program funds over the next five years to help balance the budget. Prop. 1E would take $460 million over the next two years from mental health services to ease the state’s budget problems. Prop. 1F would bar state elected officials from getting pay raises in years in which the state runs a deficit. Source: The Associated Press