Election 2016

As the March 5 presidential primary election approaches in California, Joe Biden and Donald Trump are enjoying significant leads in the polls and appear to be well on their way to securing their political parties’ respective nominations. 

In Santa Clara County, there are also a number of statewide and regional races on the March 5 primary ballot, which can often be overshadowed by the November general election. While three county supervisors are up for reelection in the primary, District 1 incumbent Sylvia Arenas—who represents South County—was elected in 2022 and has two more years before she faces reelection. 

Still, local voters might want to make sure their registration status is up to date and learn about some of the contests before March 5 is here. The last day to register to vote is Feb. 20, according to the county Registrar of Voters’ website. The ROV office will begin sending vote-by-mail ballots to all voters 29 days before election day—this year starting the week of Feb. 5. 

The last day to request a Vote by Mail replacement ballot is Feb. 27. For more information on how to register or request a ballot—including online forms to fill out as well as the ROV’s mailing address and other contact information—visit the ROV’s website at tinyurl.com/37683drx

Those who miss the voter registration deadline will still have the option to submit a Conditional Voter Registration at the ROV office or any vote center. 

You can also register to vote on the California Secretary of State’s website at registertovote.ca.gov

Voters who are registered with No Party Preference will not see presidential candidates on their vote-by-mail ballot. If those voters want to vote for a presidential candidate, they have the following options, according to county elections officials:

– To vote in the American Independent, Democratic or Libertarian party primaries, you must request a ballot for that party. You do not need to register to vote again. You can also request a ballot at any county Vote Center, a list of which can be found on the registrar’s website at sccvote.org. 

Send your request for a party ballot by mail to Registrar of Voters, Vote by Mail Division, P.O. Box 49003, San Jose, CA 95161-99544. You can also request a party ballot by calling 408.299.VOTE; emailing [email protected]; or faxing 408.293.6002. 

– To vote in the Green, Peace and Freedom or Republican party primaries, you must re-register to vote by Feb. 20 in order to receive a ballot for that party. 

The ROV office will serve as a Voter Center throughout the Vote By Mail period, starting Feb. 5, Monday through Friday 8am-5pm; as well as 9am-5pm Saturdays and Sundays; and 7am-8pm on March 5. The ROV office is located at 1555 Berger Drive, Building 2 in San Jose. 

Also starting the week of Feb. 5, voters can drop their signed and sealed vote by mail ballots at any of a number of secure drop boxes that will be stationed throughout the county. Drop box locations include:

– In Gilroy: Gavilan College Student Center; Gilroy City Hall; Gilroy Library

– In Morgan Hill: Morgan Hill City Hall; Morgan Hill Library; Morgan Hill Unified School District; Nordstrom Elementary. 


In addition to the presidential primary, on the March 5 ballot are primary races for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Dianne Feinstein, who died in 2023. Sen. Laphonza Butler, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to take over for Feinstein until this year’s election, is not running to retain the seat. 

There are more than 25 candidates running for Butler’s senate seat, and the top two will advance to the Nov. 5 general election ballot. 

Additional races that South County voters will see on the March 5 ballot include:

– U.S. Congressional 18th District: Zoe Lofgren, incumbent; Peter Hernandez, small business owner and former San Benito County supervisor; Charlene Concepcion Nijmeh, tribal chairwoman; Luele N. Kifle, disaster housing inspector; and Lawrence Milan, bartender. 

– State Assembly District 28: Gail Pellerin, incumbent; Liz Lawler, retired Monte Sereno mayor.

– State Assembly District 29: J.W. Paine, Teamsters truck driver; Robert Rivas, incumbent and Assembly Speaker. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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