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In one California precinct, there are 73 candidates on the ballot for 19 different offices from the Governorship to county supervisor to local water district. The good news is that nobody has to vote for them all. We hear about mail in voting — it's too late for that now -- and get an outline of California's Top Two system and how it works. Also tonight, a special report on the highly-charged dynamics in the race for Los Angeles County Sheriff, one of America's biggest law enforcement agencies. (You can see all KCRW’s political coverage and links to much more at KCRW.com/election.)

Image-for-WWLA.jpgLater, on To the Point, just three years ago, it appeared that dictatorships in the Middle East might become relics of the political past, replaced by democracy.  Now, strongmen in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere have found ways to use the electoral process to maintain power or attain it. We look at America's options.


Banner image: Steve Rhodes

Primary Eve: Who’s Voting and Are the Polling Booths Ready? 13 MIN, 10 SEC

Tomorrow's election day in California with the Governor, the Attorney General and major local offices on the ballot. There's a wide-open race to be Sheriff of Los Angeles County. The winner will run one of the nation's biggest law enforcement agencies, including a massive jail system. We hear about the candidates later. There are also two open seats on the five-member Board of Supervisors. They run a government larger than all but a few states. Dean Logan is the LA County Registrar-Recorder, who administers the election process. Kim Alexander is President of the non-partisan California Voter Foundation. She's worked with five California Secretaries of State, the office that administers elections statewide.

Dean Logan, Los Angeles County (@lacountyrrcc)
Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation (@kimalex3)

Primary Eve: Who's Voting, and Are the Polling Booths Ready? 13 MIN, 10 SEC

Tomorrow's ballot includes 19 offices, from Governor to County Supervisor. Fortunately no one has to vote for them all. We hear how California's Top Two system works.

Dean Logan, Los Angeles County (@lacountyrrcc)
Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation (@kimalex3)

Reflections on the Sheriff's Debate 5 MIN, 59 SEC

There's almost never been an election for LA County Sheriff without an incumbent on the ballot, and no sitting sheriff has ever been defeated in an election — not even the late Sherman Block, who was re-elected after he died during his campaigns. That was in 1998, and Lee Baca, who came in second, took over and served until January of this year, when he retired after a series of scandals. A Citizens Commission said he allowed a culture of corruption that encouraged lawlessness, racial discrimination and jailhouse brutality. That led to an unprecedented open race to replace Lee Baca. Out of seven candidates, all but two are "insiders" — active or retired members of the Sheriff's Department. We hear from Jim McDonnell, Bob Olmsted, Paul Tanaka, Todd Rogers, Lou Vince and James Hellmold, who participated in a debate last month. Retired Lieutenant Patrick Gomez, who was not present, often points out that he's the only Latino running for Sheriff. He says there's money missing from the Narcotics Asset Forfeiture Fund, which consists of property confiscated from drug traffickers.

The Unlikely Underdog Makes a Bid for Office 6 MIN, 59 SEC

For Governor, for Attorney General and many other races for office there are candidates listed that few voters have ever heard of -- with no experience in public service and without enough financial resources to become competitive. In the 33rd Congressional District, being vacated by Democrat Henry Waxman, no less than 18 people are listed on the ballot. We won't name potential winners and losers for that or any other office, but it's worth asking why they run.  Professor Jack Pitney teaches Political Science at Claremont McKenna College.

Jack Pitney, Claremont McKenna College (@jpitney)

Pitney's 'American Government and Politics: Deliberation, Democracy, and Citizenship'

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