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The presidential election and statewide ballot measures brought many South Bay voters out to vote.
Whether they were casting a vote for Donald Trump or Joe Biden, most voters seemed to agree on one thing: that the fate of the country hangs in the balance, and that felt more true in this election than it has in a long time.
“We’re all voting for this country,” 41-year-old Luiz Valdez told me after he voted at the polling center in Castle Park High School in Chula Vista Monday afternoon.
Valdez, like many voters who I talked to, said it was primarily the presidential election that motivated him to come to the polls.
The pandemic and racism in the country have been disappointing to him, and he wanted to do his part to vote Trump out.
“There are a lot of injustices because of this president,” Valdez said.
“I voted because I wanted to see a change in my democracy,” Sara Mack, who also voted at Castle Park, told me. “It’s a ruckus right now. I’ll be 58 soon and I’ve never seen the country like it is right now, so divided.”
The presidential election – Mack voted for Biden – and Proposition 21, which would allow cities to pass rent control measures on most properties older than 15 years old, were the biggest items on the measure for her.
“I’m concerned about the future of my country,” Ruth Alfaro told me Monday morning after she voted at San Ysidro High School.
Alfaro is worried that the government has been infringing too much on many of her rights.
She voted to re-elect Trump, since he’s already shown her that he’s going to take the country in the direction she wants.
Alfaro said she also voted against anything on the ballot that would increase her taxes, like Proposition 15, which would change the way property taxes are assessed on businesses, to raise money for schools and local governments.
“We already pay so many taxes as a San Diego – on gasoline, on everything – and I see no results,” she said.
This was the first presidential election since Cristal Gomez got her citizenship.
“Hopefully we can make a difference,” Gomez said. Gomez works for a union and said voting against Proposition 22, which would exempt gig companies like Uber and Lyft from AB 5, a new state law that limits when companies can classify a worker as an independent contractor, was one of the most important things on the ballot for her.
Gomez cast her presidential vote for Trump.
“I’m not against him,” Gomez said. “I think he’s done a good job even though people say he doesn’t like people like me.”
Jocelyn Cabral also voted for Trump, though she said she’s not a big fan of either candidate. Ultimately, she really didn’t agree with Biden’s tax regulations. She’s also pro-life.
It was also Cabral’s first opportunity to vote in a presidential election because she wasn’t yet 18 in 2016.
But it was really some of the state propositions that Cabral felt strongly about. She voted in favor of the rent control measure because she’s a renter. Proposition 23, which would require kidney dialysis clinics to have at least one physician present during operating hours and to report infection data to the state, was also important to her because her uncle receives kidney treatment.
Roommates Luis Barlow and Pete Coniff came to the National City Public Library to drop off their ballots together.
The race for president was most important to them.
“I know California is going left, but I still want to do my part,” Coniff said.
County Supervisor Race Not on Many Voters’ Radars
For the first time in more than two decades, voters in the South Bay went to the polls with the opportunity to elect a new representative to the County Board of Supervisors. But the race seemed to take a backseat to other contests.
Valdez voted for Nora Vargas.
“I would like to see a female in office,” he said. “Women tend to have this attention to detail and have a more sentimental approach to issues.”
Gomez also voted for Vargas, but said she didn’t really know much about either candidate. She voted for Vargas because her name sounded Mexican, and Gomez is also Mexico.
Mack voted for Ben Hueso because he’s been in office for so long.
“He’s got a lot of experience,” she said.
Cabral didn’t know much about Vargas, but she knew she didn’t want to vote for Hueso because of things she’s heard about him through the media, like the time he received a DUI in Sacramento several years ago.
Barlow and Coniff voted for Vargas. They didn’t know much about her either, but Coniff’s brother had told them that she was more liberal and aligned with their values.
Alfaro didn’t cast a vote for county supervisor. Both Hueso and Vargas were too liberal for her, she said.
Valdez noted that the pandemic had actually improved his voting experience. Since the polls were open for more days, voting in person actually went a lot quicker.
Alfaro also noted that the lines weren’t as long. But she didn’t like that people could come and vote before Election Day.
“It’s Election Day,” she said. “It’s supposed to be special.”