Voter turnout for California’s Presidential Primary Election started out slow this morning in Southwest Riverside County. The bright red signs that read “Vote Here” were clearly visible at all of the polling places along Grand Ave from Lake Elsinore to Wildomar, but the parking lots at many fire stations and elementary schools sat empty.
In Murrieta, at Antelope Hills Elementary School, voters were slowly walking in around 11 a.m. to cast their votes.
Former Republican State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, who represented California’s 36th Senate District from 2002 to 2010, was among the two dozen voters who turned out to vote at Antelope Hills this morning.
Hollingsworth was unable to run again in 2010 because of state term limits.
Hollingsworth said the Proposition that was most important to him today was Proposition 29, which would add $1 per pack tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to fund cancer research.
“It is very clear to me Proposition 29 would be another multimillion dollar boondoggle,” said Hollingsworth, who added he was voting to fight for a strong presidential candidate who will defeat Obama, as well as congressional and state legislators who will bring about fiscal responsibility.
Hollingsworth blamed this morning’s slow turnout on a bland campaign by candidates.
“Many (candidates) campaigned with pastels instead of bold primary colors that attract attention,” he said.
The state of the nation’s economy brought 64-year old Murrieta resident Barry Sullenger to the polls late morning. Today, Sullenger cast the first vote of his life.
“I fear Obama will get re-elected and if I don’t vote, I have no right to complain about the outcome,” said Sullenger, who was soured by politics during the Vietnam era. Sullenger was also motivated to vote because of his sons’ 18-year-old girlfriend who is liberal and politically active.
“I can fight back by casting my vote,” said Sullenger who said his all three of his children ages 21 to 28 plan to vote for the first time today.
Murrieta resident Kristie Cortes said she votes faithfully in every election and brought her 12-year-old son at noon today to learn about the voting process.
“I wasn’t excited about any of the issues today or the candidates. I am a fan of Ron Paul,” said Cortes.
Cortes’s son and future voter Tyler Salazar said he is concerned about the economy and thinks it’s sad his country’s military have a hard time finding employment after they leave the service.
Todays’ polls close at 8 p.m.
Michelle Mears-Gerst is a local writer and new contributor to SWRNN.