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When I asked what drew them to the polls, some District 1 San Diego voters Tuesday gave quick, fervent replies tied to lightning rod presidential candidates.

“I don’t want Hillary Clinton to get anything else,” said an elderly man leaving the polls at La Jolla United Methodist Church.

“Not wanting Donald Trump … That’s scary,” said a woman outside Brookdale Senior Living Community in Carmel Valley.

A Brookdale resident in a wheelchair said, “Since neither Clinton nor Trump are worthy of anyone’s vote, I voted for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.”

Those folks, and many others who were quick to offer impassioned remarks, declined to give me their names.

Many of the people who did chat openly expressed support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

That made it a bit hard to discern whether Sanders had a genuine surge of support in San Diego’s mostly affluent coastal district – which includes UC San Diego, La Jolla, Torrey Pines, Carmel Valley and Del Mar Mesa – or whether his backers were just the most vocal.

The Sanders bandwagon spanned all generations. A few others voiced support for Clinton. If there was a Trump supporter in the area, they didn’t cop to it.

Most voters who talked to me knew little about local races. Some cast votes anyway. Others left those spots blank.

Megan Pogue of Carmel Valley said she voted so she could have “some involvement in the direction of our city.”

Pogue said she voted for Mayor Kevin Faulconer because “I think he is doing a fantastic job for our city and he has more he’d like to do.” Asked about her votes for City Council and county supervisor, Pogue said, “I’m going to have to take the 5th Amendment on that one.”

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Carmel Valley resident Serena Halpern said she’s a “Big Bernie supporter” early Tuesday morning after leaving the polls.

Issues like “education, the health care system, LGBTQ rights and marijuana legalization,” drew her to the polls.

She didn’t know much about the local candidates, but said she voted for Democrat Barbara Bry for City Council and independent Lori Saldaña for mayor.

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UC San Diego bioengineering student Evan Nazaroff said, “I am just a big supporter of Bernie Sanders.” He left the local candidates and measures blank.

UC San Diego political science student Melanie Elyasian is pro-Clinton and pro-Saldaña.

Issues close to her heart include equal pay, Planned Parenthood and college affordability. She did not cast a vote for the District 1 Council seat.

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UC San Diego nanoengineering student Adam Redleaf is close to graduating and said he felt like voting, plus “I needed a break from finals.” He spent nine hours working on three test problems Monday.

Redleaf — who said he is probably moving back to Arizona soon —- cast votes for Sanders and Bry, because he was drawn to the latter’s occupation as a high-tech entrepreneur.

“It’s a field I am going to be working in,” he said.

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Pacific Beach resident Doug LaRue said he votes no matter what or who is on the ballot.

“I vote every time. It’s not the issues. It’s the rights. You’ve seen what’s around the world,” he said.

“I will vote Bernie, even though he has no chance of winning. I’m not quite happy with Hillary. Everybody needs a little cutting down every now and then,” LaRue said. He said he looks at ballot measures “to see what good it is going to create for the whole, as opposed to a small sector.”

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Linda Perreault declined to say which candidates she voted for, but said she voted because, “I just think it’s an important election. I wanted to make sure my voice was heard.”

She was less enthused by the local measures: “I think all the propositions are a mystery. It looks more like technical language, not substantive changes.”

La Jolla Democrat Camp Cuthrell spent some time studying the local measures because, “There wasn’t a lot of campaigning on that stuff.”

“I always vote. I like to vote … Can’t bitch if you don’t vote,” said Cuthrell, who was wearing an Uncle Sam T-shirt that said “Vote.”

Cuthrell said he voted for Bry, and also for Faulconer, a Republican, “believe it or not.”

On the local level, “The party affiliation doesn’t drive that much,” he said. “It’s not like it’s changing anything socially.”

“From a continuity perspective, I want to let (Faulconer) continue,” Cuthrell said, noting talks with the Chargers continue over a stadium.

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Ashly McGlone

Ashly is a freelance investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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