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Polling stations in Clairemont Mesa, where voters were weighing in on the two most hotly contested races in San Diego, seemed a little dreary Tuesday.

With over 70 percent of ballots in San Diego being cast by mail for this election, the poll workers I encountered looked pretty bored.

Heck, I was bored at times. Was this going to be my introduction to California politics?

But the meager turnout also meant the people who showed up were passionate, and knew the ins and the outs of the policies they were voting for.

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To kick things off, I went to the Horizon Christian Fellowship. The first people I met were Marilyn Clements, 78, and Charles Clements, 82, both retired and who showed up at the polling station bright and early around 7 a.m.

Both said they opposed Prop. 47, which would reduce penalties for non-violent drug and property crimes.

“They want to let the prisoners out of jail and then give that money for other causes,” Charles said. “They were in jail for a reason.”

They also opposed Proposition 1, which would allocate billions to pay for water infrastructure. Marilyn said she would have supported it if she believed the funds would be used appropriately, but she thinks that the money will be mismanaged and go to other programs instead.

As we were ready to part ways, Marilyn asked her husband, “Anything else?”

“The governor, he’s had enough,” Charles said.

“Oh, yeah. Brown’s been in long enough.”

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My next stop was the Clairemont Mortuary.

Dorene Monteur was excited for some change from what she said was the Democratic norm.

“I’m kind of on the bandwagon in that I’m tired of the Obama agenda.”

She voted for Chris Cate for District 6 City Council, and Carl DeMaio for the 52nd Congressional District.

“I think he is really good with budget control, and I think there’s a lot of overspending with city retirees, and he’s out to control that,” she said of DeMaio.

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The mortuary was looking a little dead (hardy-har), so I had a chat with a lady selling raffle tickets outside. She signed me up for the raffle, and then offered me a packet to make sure I was prepared for my death.

With that, I moved on to Madison High School.

There, I met Richard Watson, a retired worker from Kellogg’s who said he’s had enough of the Republican Party.

“I cannot stomach Carl DeMaio and the Republican Party. They cost me $3,000 last year when the Tea Party shut down the government … so I just have no use for them.”

He also voted for Carol Kim in the District 6 race, because he said he received too much junk mail from Chris Cate, and he believes that money could have been spent on a better cause.

“I just felt like he was trying to buy the election, and that just irritated me.”

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Ken Olsen, a registered Democrat, had an interesting take on the City Council race. He went with Cate, a Republican, he said.

“I like to see more of a balance on the City Council,” Olsen, a retired director of Bay City Marine in National City, said.

He voted for Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat, in the 52nd District.

He voted against Prop. 46, but expressed frustration with the way it was drafted. That proposition would test doctors for drugs and alcohol and raise the amount of money people can win in medical malpractice lawsuits. He said he was in favor of the first part, but against the second part.

“There should be separation between those two things, and it seems like most people are not even going to catch that.” He thinks that people are going to vote for that proposition without seeing all of the different pieces of it.

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Christi Grab, a homemaker and writer, pushed her 2 -year-old son in a mini convertible toward the voting booth. He was probably the most excited voter I saw all day, but Grab also had strong feelings about the election.

She was the first person to mention the election of a judge. In fact, she said Ken Gosselin, a candidate for Superior Court judge, is who motivated her to vote.

“My hatred for Gosselin made me make sure to be out here to vote for his competitor.”

Grab said she decided to vote against DeMaio long before sexual harassment allegations against him emerged, calling him “gross” and “Tea Party icky.”

Grab said Prop. 47 is very important because of prison overcrowding.

“It is ridiculous that we are spending so much [on prisons]. And people I think deserve a chance to rebuild their lives … At least [Prop. 47] gives them a chance to try to pull it together.”

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Matthew Hose

Matthew is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can reach him at matthew.hose@voiceofsandiego.org.

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