Poll workers at the San Diego Convention Center hold up American flags to signal voters who need help with their ballots. / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

An astonishing number of San Diegans have already cast their ballots this year, but make no mistake: Election Day is still a big deal.

If you haven’t yet voted and are hoping for a refresher on races and issues, check out our ultimate guide to the local election. On the latest episode of the VOSD Podcast, we singled out the most interesting races we’ll be watching once results start rolling in.

Each election, we love hearing directly from voters about the issues, candidates and races that motivated them to cast their vote. 

This time around, we have a clearer sense of the issues weighing on local residents’ minds heading into the election, thanks to The Voice Poll, a scientific survey of residents Voice of San Diego commissioned for the first time.

As Scott Lewis explains, San Diegans rank issues including the economic impact of the coronavirus and housing and homelessness among the most serious problems facing the region. Despite those dire concerns, though, residents appear to have maintained a good deal of trust in their leaders and the institutions serving the community.

“As we process the Election Night results, we wanted San Diego residents to have a baseline – a benchmark reflection of where San Diegans stand on challenges we’re all dealing with now, from schools to the border to the crisis in trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. That’s what led to The Voice Poll,” Lewis writes. “What better way to hold leadership accountable than to measure what residents are concerned about and see if it improves?”

The Voice Poll also revealed interesting tensions over restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

In a non-COVID world, 46 percent of county residents polled said they generally support a more open border with Mexico, while 41 percent of those polled support more restrictions at the border. … When it comes to the COVID border-crossing restrictions, 50 percent of residents polled oppose re-opening the border at this time and 39 percent favor re-opening right now,” Maya Srikrishnan reports in the latest Border Report.

Businesses located at the border, meanwhile, are pleading for help. 

“Restricting daily travelers between our countries, who invest in binational commerce through the goods and services they acquire, is hurting border communities more than COVID itself,” San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce CEO Jason Wells wrote in a letter to Christopher Landau, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. 

Speaking of Border Problems …

Trash is piled near the U.S.-Mexico border, where sewage from Tijuana flows through. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

A new study of the Tijuana River by the International Boundary Water Commission, or IBWC, and Mexican counterparts offers a snapshot of what’s in the water: ammonia, phosphorous, parasitic worms, the chemical DEHP and, of course, poop.

Stakeholders say they’re not surprised by the results, and they believe that there’s a bigger issue: “The real problem is that no one is keeping track of the river’s contents, past or present, on a regular basis,” MacKenzie Elmer reports.

Though numerous agencies are involved in dealing with the river’s sewage flows, none believes it should be responsible for doing more consistent testing. No one really has the money for it, either.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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