The first votes of the June primary have been cast -- votes by independents who have decided whether they want to participate in the partisan primaries and, if so, for which party.
The first voters required to make a decision are those who are registered as "decline to state" a party affiliation and who are also signed up as permanent absentee voters. Since both major parties allow decline-to-state voters to participate in their primaries, elections officials must ask those permanent absentees what kind of ballots they would like to receive in the mail: nonpartisan, Democratic or Republican.
Almost all decide to remain nonpartisan, said Ventura County Assistant Registrar of Voters Gene Browning. Notices have been sent to 17,000 such voters in Ventura County, and only 2,200 have requested partisan ballots — a response rate, Browning said, that roughly mirrors that of two years ago.
This activity is a reminder of just how soon actual voting will commence. Sample ballots, which include requests for absentee ballots, will be put in the mail beginning a week from Thursday. Absentee ballots will begin going out on May 8 -- which means voting begins three weeks from today.