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    City Clerk Herrera Estimates Between 30-40,000 Total Ballots Will Be Cast In Citywide Special Election (Foresees Roughly 14-18% Turnout & Hopes He's Wrong); Warns Voters NOT To Write Any Comments, Initials Or Words On Ballot (Which Will Invalidate Voter's Entire Ballot Under State Law)

    (April 27, 2007) -- City Clerk Larry Herrera says he hopes he's wrong, but at this point he's estimating that in CA's fifth largest city with nearly 500,000 residents, only roughly 14-18% of LB's approximately 212,000 registered voters will end up casting ballots (total absentee + polling place) in the May 1 citywide special election.

    Absentee ballots are currently being received (another numerical update expected shortly) and City Clerk Herrera says he regrets that some contain written comments, remarks, initials, pictures and the like...and under state law, he can't count those ballots.

    "Do NOT, repeat NOT, write any words, initials, comments or pictures on your ballot," City Clerk Herrera reminds voters...because under state law those ballots can't be and won't be counted." has learned that some campaign operatives are anxious and/or exercised over reports that some supporters who requested absentee ballots haven't received them. City Clerk Herrera indicates the final batch of absentee ballot requests was received by City Hall at its mid-week deadline...and those voters' addresses were electronically transmitted to a City Hall-contracted, certified ballot printing firm (in the State of Washington) which put them in the First Class mail that they should be arriving in LB Friday or Saturday.

    Caveat: completed absentee ballots must be received by the City Clerk at a polling place or City Hall by the time the polls close at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday May 1. (Dropping them in the mail Tuesday won't work).

    Voters who requested but didn't receive an absentee ballot face an added chore. They can either pick up an emergency absentee ballot in person at City Hall OR simply vote in person at a polling place on May 1 (where they'll cast a "provisional" ballot).

    The election started out as a special 6th district "winner take all" race to succeed former Councilwoman (now Assemblywoman) Laura Richardson...which the Mayor and Council expanded at taxpayer cost into a citywide special election on proposed changes to LB's City Charter (the city's constitution).

    The Mayor and Council held citywide meetings, heard public testimony but ultimately declined to put a number of grassroots-suggested proposals on the ballot, choosing instead to bundle on the ballot proposed changes (some recycled or adapted from proposals under the O'Neill administration) on Council pay, Mayoral powers and City Hall prerogatives (Propositions A-G).

    Also on the ballot is separate item, Prop H, that would increase the fee paid by those pumping oil out of LB to produce revenue allocated to police and fire purposes.

    [For's ballot measure recommendations, click here.]

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