Local Politics

Monday, May 20 2013 05:41 PM

Voters to pick new state senator Tuesday

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Candidate for the 16th state Senate District seat, Democrat Leticia Perez.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Candidate for the 16th state Senate District seat, Republican Andy Vidak.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Candidate for the 16th state Senate District seat, Mohammad Arif of Bakersfield.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Candidate for the 16th state Senate District seat, Francisco Ramirez of Riverdale.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Candidate for the 16th state Senate District seat, Paulina Miranda of Fresno.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Five candidates face off Tuesday in the special 16th Senate District primary election.

The front-runners, Republican Andy Vidak and Democrat Leticia Perez, are backed by millions of dollars in state party money.

The other three candidates -- Mohammad Arif, Paulina Miranda and Francisco Ramirez -- have operated on shoe-string budgets and are not expected to pull in much of the vote.

But their presence in the race may be enough to block anyone from getting a majority of the vote, which would necessitate a run-off on July 23 between the two top vote-getters.

Turnout is expected to be low in the contest so every vote cast is expected to have a major impact. The ultimate winner will replace Michael Rubio, who resigned in February.

Here's what you need to know before heading out to the polls Tuesday:

Am I eligible to vote in this election?

Those eligible were sent a sample ballot (unless they opted out of receiving one) or a vote-by-mail ballot packet (for those who vote by mail). Also, you can look up your voting districts at elections.co.kern.ca.us/ elections.

When can I vote?

Polls are open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday.

Where do I go?

Your polling site is listed on the back of the sample ballot mailed to you. You also can find yours online at Elections.co.kern.ca.us using the "Your polling place" link or by calling Kern County elections at 868-3590 or 800-452-8683.

When's the best time to go to the polls?

Officials recommend mid-morning or mid-afternoon to avoid long lines that usually form before and after work times, and at lunchtime.

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