SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The first votes in the presidential primary election is only a few days away and California voters cast their ballots in a little over a month.
The Monterey County Elections office just sent out their mail-in ballots to nearly 150,000 registered voters. However, if you are a no party preference voter, there is an extra step you need to take if you want to vote in the presidential race.
There are a 194,000 registered voters in Monterey County, with about a quarter not being affiliated with a political party.
With Election Day just weeks away in the state, Monterey County voters are one of the first few on the Central Coast getting an early chance to cast their ballots.
"We just got our and I haven't had a chance to review it and study it. And I'm very interested basically about Prop 13," said Diane Pemberton, a Salinas resident.
"Ballots are in the mail. Voters can expect to start seeing them in their mailboxes this Saturday with the bulk being delivered on Monday and Tuesday," said Gina Martinez, the assistant registrar of voters in Monterey County.
This Election Day, however, party will matter. If you are registered with a political party, you will be receiving a party-specific ballot in the mail or at the polling place.
But 47,000 voters in Monterey County are listed as no-party preference. However, this does not mean you cannot take part in the presidential primaries. This group of voters just has to request a party-specific ballot that they want: Democrat, Libertarian or American Independent.
If you want to switch ballots, it gets more complicated.
"If you'd like a different party's ballot, you can re-register. Now there is a deadline to re-register, but after that we can still help you get that party's ballot and re-reregister up until Election Day," said Martinez.
Thousands of no party preference voters here in Monterey County typically go to the ballot box on Election Day. In that case, they can ask for a specific-party ballot or they register for a specific political party and get the ballot that way.
Monterey County Elections tells KION they sent out 36,000 mail notices to the no party voters. However, only four thousand were sent back.
If you get a ballot in the mail with no presidential contest, but want to take part in it, officials say do not vote on it or send it in. Call and request a party-specific ballot.
The office number for Monterey County Elections is 831 796 1499.