Friday, November 16 , 2018, 2:01 am | Fair 48º


Ballots Are in the Mail for Santa Barbara Voters

Residents have until Nov. 3 to weigh in on four City Charter amendments, and to select three City Council members and a new mayor

Ballots have started arriving in local mailboxes for Santa Barbara’s first vote-by-mail election, but the campaigning is far from over.

Once they receive their ballots, voters can vote anytime until Nov. 3. Ballots come with a prepaid-postage return envelope and a voter information pamphlet, according to the City Clerk’s Office.

Some people are likely to fill out their ballots right away, while others will wait until the last minute, which means candidates will be very busy in the coming weeks, Mayor Marty Blum said.

“They only have one more month to finish it off,” she said.

City officials urge voters to mail or drop off ballots early. Drop-off center locations and hours can be found on the city election Web site.

Ballots must be received no later than 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at the City Clerk’s Office.

For the past several months, local candidate forums have been held, and mailings and lawn signs have been distributed — and there are more to come.

On Monday, the thick, white ballot-information envelopes started showing up in mailboxes around Santa Barbara, and in some areas were accompanied by campaign literature.

This year marks the first mail-only election, but the nature of some campaigns also is unprecedented, Blum said.

“We don’t usually do that in elections — we focus on the issues,” she said.

Campaigns bashing the current City Council or specific candidates hit close to home, and are “a little nastier than we usually have,” she said.

Five mayoral candidates, 13 City Council candidates and four City Charter amendments are on this year’s ballot.

In addition to voting yes or no on each amendment, voters may select one mayoral candidate and three City Council candidates. If either Councilman Dale Francisco or Councilwoman Helene Schneider wins the mayoral election, a fourth seat would be filled from the ballot.

The four measures on the ballot are: Measure B, to change building height limits; Measure C, to amend the City Charter to combine the Board of Park Commissioners with the Recreation Commission to form a new Parks and Recreation Commission; Measure D, to increase the Harbor Commission from five to seven members; and Measure E, to reduce the Architectural Board of Review from nine to seven members. Each measure requires majority approval to pass.

Santa Barbara residents can register to vote until Oct. 19. Nonpartisan voter information on the candidates and ballot measures can be found on the SmartVoter Web site.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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