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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 3:51 am | Fair 49º


Nearly 20 Percent of County’s Absentee Ballots Returned

The first and only debate in the 23rd District congressional debate is set for Saturday at SBCC

More than half of Santa Barbara County’s voters use absentee ballots, but most of them wait until the week before or of Election Day to return them to the county Elections Office.

Of the 107,000 absentee voters, only 22,612 have returned their ballots as of Thursday, according to the Elections Office.

Campaigns must start early and keep momentum going through Nov. 2, as residents can cast their votes from mid-October to 8 p.m. on Election Day, so most local candidate races and ballot measures already have been the focus of informational sessions, debates and media attention.

One race — for California’s 23rd Congressional District — has been conspicuously lacking in face-to-face conversations, while media have been barraged with e-mailed news releases from many of the candidates during the past few months.

The first — and only — public debate will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at SBCC, hosted by the Student Senate. President Atty Garfinkel said three of the candidates plan to attend — incumbent Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and challengers Republican Tom Watson and independent John Hager. Garfinkel said candidate Darrell Stafford didn’t respond to the Student Senate’s invitation.

The hour-long debate will be held in Room A-211, and it accommodates about 150 people.

All four candidates are expected to attend a KEYT/Daily Sound-sponsored debate at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28, which then will be aired on Oct. 31, KEYT news director Jim Bunner told Noozhawk.

No debates are planned for either San Luis Obispo or Ventura counties for this race, according to candidate campaign Web sites.

Absentee voters can return their ballots via mail, drop them off at the Elections Office at 4440-A Calle Real, or bring them to a polling location on Election Day. Ballot envelopes must be signed by the voter in order to be counted, which was a problem in Santa Barbara’s mail-only election last November. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 2.

» Click here for information on local candidate and ballot measures and campaign contributions.

» Click here for Noozhawk’s Q&As with the candidates for the Santa Barbara School District Board of Education.

» Click here for Noozhawk’s Q&As with the candidates for the SBCC Board of Trustees.

» Click here for Noozhawk’s Q&As with the candidates in the 35th District Assembly race.

» Click here for Noozhawk’s Q&As with the candidates in the 23rd Congressional District race.

» Click here for more information about Measure S, the countywide half-cent sales tax measure.

» Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara School District’s Measures Q and R.

» Click here for more information about Measure T, the City of Santa Barbara’s proposed ban of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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