The historic Rapp Saloon (also, briefly, Santa Monica's City Hall) building on Second Street served as a polling station in 2012. (Photo by Jason Islas)
The historic Rapp Saloon (also, briefly, Santa Monica’s City Hall) building on Second Street served as a polling station in 2012. (Photo by Jason Islas)

Tomorrow, polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for the primary election for L.A. County offices, state offices and Congressional offices. For those who haven’t already sent in their ballots by mail, June 3 is your last chance to have a say in who will be on the ballot in November at a time when Santa Monica and the Westside are experiencing a once-in-a-generation political shakeup.

Open elected offices include a new County Supervisor, Sheriff, State Senator, and Member of Congress. In the fall, Santa Monica could get at least one new member of the City Council, although that race won’t start in earnest until August since there is no primary election for Council members.

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We want to know why you are voting tomorrow. What issues or candidates are getting you out to the polls or got you to drop your ballot in the mail box? Are you a first-time voter? Or a seasoned veteran of democracy? Tell us in the comments below.
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Find your polling place and get your sample ballot here. If you didn’t register in time to vote tomorrow, register now so that you can make your voice heard in November.

We want to know why you are voting tomorrow. What issues or candidates are getting you out to the polls or got you to drop
your ballot in the mail box? Are you a first-time voter? Or a seasoned veteran of democracy? Tell us in the comments below.

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Personally, I am voting because of a Bulgarian elementary school teacher named Pavel. Whenever I consider skipping an
election, I remember a conversation I had with Pavel in 2008.SaMo-Next-Vote-Local

At the time, Pavel was in his mid-50s. He had grown up under the Communist regime in Bulgaria and was in his 30s when his country held its first free election in 1990 after the fall of the Communist government.

In 2008, I was teaching English in Bulgaria, which was having a typically heated election season. I asked Pavel if he was going to vote, since there was a pervasive sense of cynicism about democracy among his compatriots. “I have not missed an election since 1990,” Pavel said, referring to the year he was finally able to vote in a free election.

Back to the present day on our side of the world: There is an 18-way race to replace retiring veteran congress member Henry Waxman as the representative of the second wealthiest congressional district, which includes Santa Monica, in the country.

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“I have not missed an election since 1990,” Pavel said.
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A member of the Kennedy clan (and former mayor of Santa Monica) is squaring off with a veteran State lawmaker, a West Hollywood City Council member, and a former Malibu mayor to sit on the five-person L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Santa Monica will also get a new State Senator after the district’s representative stepped down to run to replace Waxman. Right now, there are eight candidates vying for the seat.

Finally, there are seven candidates vying to head L.A. County’s Sherriff Department, which is in need of major reform. For the first time in a century, the position could be held by someone from outside the troubled department, according to the L.A. Times.

The fields may be crowded now and there are many names to sift through and resumes to consider, but after Tuesday, there will only be two candidates vying for each of the offices. Only the top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the November ballot and your vote tomorrow decides which two you get to choose from.