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California Primary Election: Where and how to vote

With just three days remaining until Election Tuesday, here’s a primer on California’s open primary.

First, you should remember that the traditional, neighborhood precinct no longer exists, replaced after the 2020 election with Vote Centers, located strategically throughout the county.

In the Turlock, Vote Centers can be found at the Turlock Library’s Hilmar Cheese Co. Community Room, 550 N. Minaret Ave.; Hampton Inn by Hilton, 1821 Lander Ave.; the Assyrian American Civic Club, 2618 N. Golden State Blvd.; and Calvary Baptist Church, 700 E. Monte Vista Ave.

There are also Vote Centers at the United Samaritans Foundation Community Center, 2413 3rd St., Hughson; Denair Middle School (library), 3701 Lester Rd., Denair; and Keyes Community Center 5506 Jennie Ave., Keyes. 

All Vote Centers are open to all Stanislaus County residents, regardless of where they reside.

“If somebody lives in Patterson and they’re on their way to Oakdale, they can stop off and vote in Turlock,” said Donna Linder, the Registrar of Voters for Stanislaus County. “The Vote Centers will be open (today), Sunday and Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Tuesday, Election Day, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

In addition to in-person Vote Centers, voters can simply put their ballot in the mail — they must be postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday night, so be sure to check pick-up times — or delivered to one of 30 drop-boxes located within the county.

In Turlock, you can find drop-boxes inside Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway, 2nd floor (Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Save Mart, 2595 Geer Rd.; FoodMaxx, 1845 Countryside Dr.; and California State University, Stanislaus, 1 University Circle (indoor and outdoor boxes). Other drop-boxes around the region can be found at Hughson City Hall, 7018 Pine St. (Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.); and Denair Library, 4801 Kersey Rd. (Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

The boxes inside the grocery stores will be picked up at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, even though the store remains open later.

Visit for a complete list of Vote Centers and drop-boxes in the county.

“Turnout is really low right now,” said Linder, who was elected in 2018 and is currently serving her second term. “We need people to come out and vote and make their voice heard.”

Part of the reason for low turnout is the dearth of competitive races. At the top of the ballot, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are a virtual lock to secure their party’s nomination.

The race for California’s 13th congressional district features just two candidates —  incumbent Rep. John Duarte (R-Hughson) and former Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) — and that guarantees they’ll both advance to November’s general election.

The same can be said of the 22nd assembly district, which features a matchup between incumbent Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Modesto) and Jessica Self (D-Modesto), assuring they’ll both advance to November.

The contest for the 5th congressional district features three candidates — incumbent Rep. Tom McClintock (R-El Dorado Hills), Mike Barkley (D-Manteca) and Steve Wozniak (I-Modesto) — but it’s a foregone conclusion that the solidly red 5th district will go for McClintock. 

All three members of the county Board of Supervisors who are up for reelection — Buck Condit (District 1), Channce Condit (District 5) and Vito Chiesa (District 2), who represents Turlock — are running unopposed.

Only the state’s race for U.S. Senator — to fill the remainder of the Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s term following her death in September, and for the ensuing full term — is vaguely competitive.

Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff (CA-30), Katie Porter (CA-47), Barbara Lee (CA-12), and former baseball star Steve Garvey, a Republican, are battling for the top two spots.

In a recent poll conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Government Studies, Garvey leads the race with 27 percent, followed by Schiff (25 percent), Porter (19 percent) and Lee (8 percent). Twelve percent of voters split among the other 23 candidates, and 9 percent are undecided.

If the numbers hold and Garvey and Schiff advance, most of Porter and Lee’s combined 27 percent would coalesce around Schiff, as well as some of the 21 percent that currently is dedicated to other candidates or undecided, meaning the former All-Star first baseman will need some late-inning heroics to pull of an upset.

Also on the ballot Tuesday are seats for the county’s Democratic and Republican central committee seats.

In District 2, GOP appointed incumbents Christan Santos, Kelly Thompson and Thomas Pannier, as well as Ryan Taylor, Wendy Bosshardt and Patrick Shields are in a game of musical chairs, with five seats available for six candidates.

On the Democratic side, incumbents Victor Azevedo Costa, Margaret Souza and Michelle Tennell, along with Lise Talbott, Keristofer Seryani and Catherine Doo are vying for four open seats.

Finally, there’s statewide measure Proposition 1, which authorizes $6.38 billion in bonds to build mental health treatment facilities for those with mental-heath and substance-use challenges, and provides housing for the homeless.