Let's Do The Time Warp Again

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The year was 1940, a year when war was on the horizon and the big political chatter centered on whether Franklin D. Roosevelt would run for an unprecedented third term in the White House.

That was the last time California held two separate primary elections in the same year.

Wait a minute. There's an election tomorrow?

Tuesday's primary still seems overshadowed by the presidential contest; on February 5, it was how California and the rest of the Super Tuesday states would vote. Tomorrow, the national media will be oblivious to the state's issues... likely focused only on whether the Democratic presidential race will come to a close.

Meantime, dozens of local, legislative, and congressional races will lock in candidates from all political parties. And while some think voter turnout will be dismally small, that might not be the case everywhere considering the intensity of some of these intra-party races.

"There are some hot contests," says Secretary of State Debra Bowen. "I think we'll see some pretty big variations from region to region."

Bowen dismisses any notion that moving the presidential primary from June to February was a bad idea, saying that it may be the reason behind a recent surge in voter registration -- particularly among young voters.

Unlike her predecessors, Bowen has not made an official prediction of statewide voter turnout. And if she's right about differences in voter participation by community, then one wonders whether some of these heated races for elective office could impact the only statewide contest -- the battle over changes to the government power of eminent domain.

Dueling initiatives Proposition 98 and Proposition 99 both aim to change eminent domain rules, albeit in different ways. Prop 98 is a far broader attempt to rein in the possibility of seizing property for redevelopment purposes; Prop 99 chooses instead to focus on limiting the taking of someone's home. If both initiatives should pass, only the one with the highest vote total will take effect.

The folks at the non-partisan California Voter Foundation have an online guide on what you need to know before you head to the polls.

We'll be doing live updates of The California Report through the night on public radio stations across the state. And we've got election resources on our site at KQED.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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