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Exit Polls: Locals Uninterested in Local Races

Controversial California propositions and the Barack Obama-Mitt Romeny showdown grab Santa Monica voters' attention. In exit polls, little is said about the City Council and school board.

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.

For the latest Election Night results and news, follow Santa Monica Patch on Twitter and Facebook. We're also following live results here.

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."

J Edward Tipre November 07, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Local elections should be among the most relevant since candidates and voting citizens share the same living space. Therefore, decisions make immediate impact. Follow the city council meetings, City Planning Commission meetings, etc. on City T.V. and be educated quickly on those governing the city and the voting decisions they make. Santa Monica has been a triple A bond rated city of late--a lot of money involved. This should, among other aspects, make it difficult to be complacent about its politics.
A.A. November 08, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Shame on "longtime Santa Monica resident" Daniel Lawrence for voting in the City Council race when he hadn't taken the time to research the candidates and their individual platforms. It's bozos like this guy who have cost Santa Monica dearly in that we've now ended up electing three evil, greedy, developer-devoted City Council members simply because their names are plastered all over town, and thus are easily remembered.* As someone who worked hard to get the message out to local residents that the results of this City Council race could change the face of Santa Monica forever, I am DISGUSTED that an individual would so cavalierly cast his vote. Archie Castillo, on the other hand, did the right thing by not voting at all in the Council race. It would have been preferable that he did his homework for love of his hometown, but at least he didn't undermine the efforts of all those who did. *NOTE: Ted Winterer is NOT evil, greedy, or developer-devoted but since his name was lumped in with the bad guys and thus ALSO plastered all over town, he also scored a win. I'd like to think Ted was elected solely based on the votes of informed and conscientious Santa Monica residents, but if that were the case, we'd see Richard McKinnon, John C. Smith, and Bob Seldon celebrating today as well.
Jon Mann November 08, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Apathy is the sad truth about Santa Monica voters. They will get what they deserve. The overdevelopment is out of control and will really take off now that the entire council supports so called "smart" and "slow" growth. This campaign ended as it always does. Most of us who weren't supported by special interests ran honorable campaigns, but that's not how revolving door politics works in Santa Monica. You can't win without the endorsements and contributions. It's clear that the entire council is compromised. After all is said and done, Winterer, Vasquez and even McKeown, as part of the SMRR patronage machine, are also looking out for their cronies... The difference between smart and slow growth is infinitesimal. The only way to throw out ALL the bums is to hold a recall and wake up the apathetic voters who continue to vote for the more of the same.. There is hope, however; one thing this campaign brought out is that there are enough irate and informed voters to mount a recall... The council will NEVER allow the people a real voice in government.

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