Voters in Rancho Peñasquitos and Point Loma were less excited than they were nagged by civic duty.

“I just feel like it’s my obligation to vote,” said Point Loma resident Darla Mercer after she finished filling out her ballot at Phil’s BBQ (San Diego’s most delicious polling place).

She and most other voters I spoke to Tuesday morning weren’t particularly excited to share who they supported. Several acknowledged high-profile attacks and endorsements helped them make last-minute decisions. The most passionate ones talked about their stances on ballot propositions, if they had views at all.

Take Rudy Soto, who I also met at Phil’s.

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Soto said he is eager to see the state invest in water projects he hopes will give Californians more water security over the long haul. The proposition allows the state to sell more than $7 billion in bonds to pay for a host of infrastructure projects statewide.

Rebecca Cervenak of Point Loma was also most focused on a ballot measure. She voted for Prop. 47 because she believes it’ll do more to discourage offenders from committing other crimes than the current system. The measure drops penalties for certain non-violent crimes and siphons the savings into into school, mental health and drug treatment programs.

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“I think rehabilitation and education are a lot more important (than prison time),” she said.

Cervenak’s past experience as a criminal defense attorney solidified her vote but a few folks I met Tuesday acknowledged they took cues from their political parties or their favorite politicians.

Leonardo Ilog of Rancho Peñasquitos followed Gov. Jerry Brown’s lead on the water bond and Prop. 2, which sets new rules for the state’s rainy day fund.

“Jerry Brown said vote for them, so I voted for them,” he said as he waited for his ride outside Sunset Hills Elementary School.

He also voted for Carol Kim in District 6 because of the D next to her name.

Negative messages also drove some voters’ decisions.

Exhibit A: Gene Ingargiola of Rancho Peñasquitos.

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Ingargiola said incumbent Rep. Scott Peters failed to make the case that he deserved his vote – and dubbed the congressman’s push to tie DeMaio to the far right an “eighth grade mentality.”

Repeated attack ads and even the recent sexual harassment allegations that rocked DeMaio’s campaign convinced Ingargiola that Peters didn’t have a better argument.

“It seemed to me like supermarket tabloid issues,” Ingargiola said. “They’re afraid of (DeMaio) for some reason, and it seems like (the accusers) were brought out.”

Lincoln Club ads questioning Kim’s voting record resonated with Rancho Peñasquitos resident Maria Gatmaitan, who said she voted for Republican Chris Cate.

But the decision whether to vote for Peters or DeMaio was more difficult.  Gatmaitan said she decided Peters was “the best of two evils.”

Lorriane Thall was one of only two voters I met who said they were glad to support a candidate based on his credentials.

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“I’ve met (Peters) and I’ve heard him speak,” Thall said. “He’s doing really good things in Washington D.C.”

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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