How to choose among 15 candidates for Santa Monica City Council? Longtime Santa Monica resident Daniel Lawrence said he went "eeny, meeny, miny, moe."
He was apparently among the majority of locals, according to exit polls, with lots to say about the presidential election and California's hot propositions, but who fell silent when it came to the local elections—which include important city council and school board races.
Some said they were overwhelmed by the volume of political pamphlets stuffed into their mailboxes and others said they were too out of touch with Santa Monica politics to make informed decisions about the council race.
[Interviews with Santa Monica voters are to the right of this article.]
Holding a Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights flier listing the group's endorsees, two-year resident Linda Werwa said she was blown away by how much money was spent on the local election. "It's confusing and annoying," she said of all of the mailers.
In an election year focused heavily on political contributions and development, 15 candidates are vying for four open seats on the dais. Only two incumbents are seeking election and there are a total of seven seats.
"I had a very hard time knowing who was who," said Archie Castillo, who admitted he knew little about Santa Monica politics. He did not cast votes for the council race.
Daniel Lawrence's brother Elliot said he voted for candidates based on the opinions of "somebody who had better knowledge than I did."
See also: Santa Monica Polls Slow After Morning Rush
Meanwhile, three Malibu residents are fighting for a voice on the local school board, which is currently comprised solely of Santa Monica residents.
But when asked what drew them to the polls, every voter Santa Monica Patch interviewed said it was the presidential contest and the state propositions. Among the most popular was Proposition 37, the genetically modified food labeling measure.
A couple of Santa Monica Patch Facebook readers, however, were more confident.
From Dee Green, "I voted in all races. I chose my candidates for City Council based on stated support for a dog beach (combined with past voting record(s)."
And, from Barbara Inatsugu, "I know many of the candidates personally. I reviewed their records and listened to what they said during candidates forums and watched how they interacted with other candidates and the public."