With Election Day a week away, it’s time to make sure you’re registered to vote, know what’s on the Nov. 8 ballot and how to cast your ballot.
The deadline to register in California was Oct. 24—but it’s not too late. If you forgot to register before that deadline, you’ll be able to register at the county elections office or a polling place. You can also register to vote online and bring the paperwork to a polling place to vote this election.
To register, go to www.registertovote.ca.gov.Voters must also reregister to vote if they are changing political parties. All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot, regardless of whether they requested it. Ballots are sent to the registered address. Santa Clara County residents began receiving ballots in the mail the week of Oct. 10.
You can check your voter registration status at Santa Clara County’s voting registrar website. If you’re 16 or 17, you can also pre-register to vote using this link, but will not be eligible to vote until age 18.
Where to vote
According to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, vote centers are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 29 through Nov. 7 and 7 a.m. though 8 p.m. on Election Day.
The California Secretary of State’s office staffs a voter hotline you can call for help: (800) 345-8683 (VOTE)
County and city elections
The biggest and most expensive race in San Jose is for mayor. With Mayor Sam Liccardo terming out, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan are battling it out. With Measure B passed by voters in June this year, the winner of this race will serve a two-year term. However, they will be allowed to run for two additional four-year terms, which means the mayor elected in November could serve up to 10 years.
The San Jose City Council seats in Districts 3, 5 and 7 are up for election. The race to replace District 3 Councilmember Raul Peralez is between San Jose-Evergreen Community College District board trustee Omar Torres and Irene Smith, a small business owner and mental health professional. With Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco terming out in District 5, former Councilmember and Assemblymember Nora Campos is running against Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Peter Ortiz. In District 7, incumbent Councilmember Maya Esparza will face off against Bien Doan, a San Jose fire captain.
As Mike Wasserman terms out of his seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, former San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis and San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas will compete to replace him as the District 1 representative. Arenas is able to run for the supervisor seat after recent redistricting changed the District 1 borders to include the Evergreen area. Khamis, who termed out of the San Jose City Council in 2020, moved from Almaden to Morgan Hill after his neighborhood was redrawn into another district.
Two candidates are also running to replace Sheriff Laurie Smith, who is retiring amid her civil corruption trial. Former Palo Alto Police Chief Robert “Bob” Jonsen is facing off against Kevin Jensen, a retired captain for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Jensen unsuccessfully ran against Smith for the seat in 2014.
District 2 Councilmember Raj Chahal is seeking reelection against retired engineer Larry McColloch. District 3 Councilmember Karen Hardy seeks to keep her seat against challenger Christian Pellecchia, vice president of operations at Santa Cruz-based Slatter Construction.
At the state level, Gov. Gavin Newsom is seeking reelection against Republican Brian Dahle. Three local Assemblymembers are also running for reelection against Republican candidates.
Assemblymember Ash Kalra is hoping to keep his newly-drawn District 25 seat against retired appellate attorney Ted Stroll.
Incumbent Alex Lee is also running for reelection against Republican Bob Brunton, who served on the Ohlone College board of trustees for 12 years. The candidates are vying for California Assembly District 24, which was formed during redistricting last year, and includes Fremont, Milpitas, Newark and the Berryessa area in northern San Jose. They ran against each other in 2020.
Assemblymember Evan Low is also running in a newly-drawn District 26 against business security consultant Tim Gorsulowsky. District 26 encompasses Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara and a small part of San Jose, which is slightly different from the district Low currently represents in that Sunnyvale and Santa Clara were added, while Saratoga and Campbell were removed.
San Jose’s Measure I
Measure I would amend San Jose’s charter. This includes codifying the city’s ethics and elections commission so it can only be disbanded by voters and not the city council, removing gendered language and citizenship requirements to serve on city commissions and requiring the city to adopt an equity statement of values.
If passed, proponents believe it will make changes that allow the city to operate in a more fair and ethical manner. However, opponents, like the Santa Clara County Republican Party, are concerned by the provision to allow non-citizens on commissions.
The city charter can only be changed through a citywide ballot measure and a majority vote.
Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.