16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY february 8-14, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com Candidates and measures on the March 5 primary ballot offer their vision to chart the future. By the Editorial Board As is routinely the case, the candidates at the top of the ticket—in 2024, that would be the office of President of the United States—tend to get a lot of attention in the media in the lead-up Election Day. This year, the presidential race was all but decided well before primary season even began. Instead of focusing on the presidential election, our focus here at the Weekly is on local elections. In a government of and by the people, it is our neighbors who are asking for your vote and seek to represent you. In our endorsement process, we invite candidates to answer questions in in-person forums or by email, and make choices about who we recommend based on those interviews as well as past records. These decisions are made by our editorial board, not our editorial staff—the news section includes continued coverage of all of these elections. Whether or not you agree with our endorsements, we hope you learn something about each of these races and most importantly, that you vote on March 5. This is a chance for all of us to help chart the future. We also welcome your opinions, including disagreements—reach out to letters@mcweekly.com any time. Monterey County Weekly’s editorial board comprises Founder & CEO Bradley Zeve, Publisher Erik Cushman and Editor Sara Rubin. Forward Looking Ballot Box It’s easier than ever to cast your vote. Here’s what to know. Feb. 5 Ballots are mailed to all registered voters in Monterey County. (You may still opt to vote in person, or deliver your vote-by-mail ballot in person.) If you do vote in person, either early or on Election Day, bring your voteby-mail ballot with you. If you don’t, you will be able to cast a provisional ballot—it will be counted as soon as Monterey County Elections officials determine you have not already returned a ballot by mail. Also as of Feb. 5, in-person voting is available at the county elections office, 1441 Schilling Place, Salinas. Feb. 20 Last day to register to vote in the March 5 primary. You may still register to vote conditionally until Election Day. A note about partisan races: California has open primaries, meaning regardless of your party affiliation, you will have the option to vote for all candidates of any party in your district. The exception is for President of the United States. If you are registered as no party preference, you have until Feb. 20 to re-register with a party affiliation or to request a crossover ballot for the American Independent, Democratic or Libertarian parties, all of which allow no-party-preference voters to participate in their primaries. To register to vote online, visit registertovote.ca.gov. Feb. 24 Saturday voting is available at the county elections office from 9am-5pm. Feb. 27 This is the last day election officials recommend returning a vote-by-mail ballot. (Note that postage is already paid—you do not need to add a stamp.) An early voting location opens at Embassy Suites (1441 Canyon Del Rey Blvd., Seaside) in addition to the county elections office. March 2-3 Weekend voting is available at the elections office and Embassy Suites. March 5 Election Day. You can drop off your vote-by-mail ballot, or vote in-person (bring your mailed ballot to trade in). Polls close at 8pm. To find your polling place, visit montereycountyelections.us/voter-guide-and-polling-placelocator. March 12 Last day for vote-by-mail ballots to be counted. Track your ballot at california.ballottrax.net. You can also sign up at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to receive updates about the status of your ballot.