Absentee Voting High but Turnout Expected To Be Low

5/5/2008 Fresno, CA But very few people we spoke with knew when Election Day is.

Theresa Orosco said, "Not a clue." "I haven't hardly heard anything about the upcoming election and I'm not too clear on what's even on the ballot," was Jim Roberts' response.

The primary election is June 3rd. And on the ballot you can vote for your next member of congress, judge, city council member, county supervisor and for the person who will run the city of Fresno for the next four years.

Absentee voting or voting by mail started today with the Fresno County Clerk's office mailing out 129,000 early ballots. More than 50 percent of the overall votes cast will come in the mail. But the registrar of voters, Victor Salazar, said predictions for turnout are not very good. "We're estimating 25 to 30 percent voter turnout. People are very busy, they work schedules, they have families, transportation issues, the cost of gasoline."

Barbara Bengel plans to vote absentee. "To me it gives a more thoughtful process to the voting you have time to really examine things and do it at your convenience at home."

With 29 days left before the June primary you can expect to see a blitz of TV ads. But ABC 30 political analyst Tony Capozzi says they may not have much impact in coaxing people to the polls. He believes moving California's presidential primary from June to February was a bad call, and at a cost of 100 million dollars, an expensive one. "What's happened here is we're going to have 3 elections this year and people are just going to have voter fatigue and the middle election being June, which is important one for local officials, it's going to be neglected."

You can still register to vote absentee until May 19th. And if you live in Fresno County, starting this Saturday you can vote absentee at the county clerk's office from 9 to 4. The office is on Kern Street in downtown Fresno and it will be open every Saturday until the June 3rd election.

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