Merced County Times Newspaper
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Voters urged to check status as county inks Primary ballots

Here’s an easy New Year’s prediction.

2020 will offer local voters a chance to participate in a wild national election — maybe even the most significant in modern American history.

Nevertheless, there’s going to be plenty of hotly contested races right here in Merced County, and it all starts with the March 3 Primary Election.

The candidate filing period ended last Friday, and the official list of those local candidates who will appear on ballots has been posted.

Check the list in this article, or the county’s election website, because the number of candidates has narrowed after the paperwork deadline.

The county’s Registrar of Voters is already operating in high gear — perhaps the most active county agency at the moment — and staff members are poised to prepare a plethora of ballots for every type of registered voter.

Here’s the deal: The ballot you receive depends largely on things like the “party preference” you have (or don’t have) on file, and where you live in the region.

Merced County voters who are registered as No Party Preference (NPP) voters will soon be receiving important mail from the Registrar of Voters. There are currently 25,000 active voters who are registered as No Party Preference, and their primary election ballots do not include candidates for president.

By the way, as of this week, there were a whopping 52 “generally recognized” presidential candidates within seven different political parties being considered for the California Primary. A final list will be determined by the state on Dec. 26.

The postcards for local NPP voters are being mailed late next week. They will outline what steps are needed to cast a crossover vote in the presidential contest for American Independent, Democratic, and Libertarian parties. The Green, Peace & Freedom, and Republican parties opted to not allow crossover voting. NPP voters who wish to cast a ballot in the presidential primary for any of those parties must re-register with that party. Registration deadline is Feb. 18.

Completing the postcard or voting a crossover ballot does not change a voter’s registered party affiliation. Voters who complete this postcard will continue to be registered as No Party Preference and will have an opportunity to request a crossover ballot in each future presidential primary election. All requests for new ballots to be mailed must be received not later than Feb. 25.

Official mail-in ballots will be sent to those registered voters who opted for that service starting the first week of February. Interestingly, those mail-in ballots received before Feb. 26 are the ones processed and counted for the first county results revealed on Election Night at around 8 p.m. Then the various “day-of”precinct poll numbers come in from all across the county. About 20 percent of mail-in ballots come in on Election Day, but the results from those are added in the days that follow.


Here are the names listed for inclusion on the March 3 Primary ballot for major races in Merced County.

• Supervisor, Dist. 1

(Le Grand, Planada, South Merced, Livingston)

Incumbent Rodrigo Espinoza faces ONE challenger, Sonia Alshami.

Espinoza is serving his first term on the board, and he’s a former mayor of Livingston, farmer and businessman. Alshami, of Merced, is an alcohol and drug counselor.

• Supervisor, Dist. 2

(City of Merced, university area)

Incumbent Lee Lor faces THREE challengers: Ricky Aguilera, Angel Barragan and Josh Pedrozo.

Lor is serving her first term on the board. She is a former staff member of the Merced County Office of Education, and director of the Merced County Education Fund. Aguilera is the general manager of Merced Indoor Sports. Barragan is a pastor at Yosemite Church and dean of students at Stone Ridge Christian School. Pedrozo is a former, two-term member of the Merced City Council. He teaches government at Merced High School.

• Supervisor, Dist. 4

(Snelling, Winton, Delhi, Hilmar, Gustine)

Incumbent Lloyd Pareira faces ONE challenger, Mario Mendoza.

Pareira is serving his first term on the board, and he has worked in the dairy and solar industry. Mendoza is a Merced College board trustee.


Here are the local measures to look out for, including for Merced, Atwater, and the College district.

• Measure J: Merced College Bond 
YES OR NO: To upgrade job training/instructional classrooms, science/computer labs; improve student safety, emergency communication/security systems, shall Merced Community College District’s measure authorizing $247,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying $25 /$100,000 assessed valuation ($14,600,000 annually) while bonds are outstanding be approved, requiring audits/citizen oversight, no money for administrators’ salaries, all funds used locally to improve opportunities for veterans, remove asbestos/lead paint and acquire, construct, repair sites, facilities, equipment?

55% Votes to Pass

Measure K: City of Merced – Mayor’s Term

YES OR NO: Shall the measure to amend the Merced City Charter to impose a four-year term for Mayor be adopted?

50%+1 Majority to Pass

Measure L: City of Merced – Citizen’s Stipend Setting

YES OR NO: Shall the measure to amend the Merced City Charter to establish a Citizens’ Stipend Setting Commission to set, recommend, and limit the maximum stipend the City Council, including the Mayor, may adopt and receive be adopted?

50%+1 Majority to Pass

Measure O: Atwater Tax Measure
YES OR NO: To prevent cuts to public safety services/neighborhood police patrols, and improve crime investigation/emergency response, by replacing overcrowded, aging/deteriorating police/fire facilities; upgrading outdated firefighting equipment; and redistributing stations throughout Atwater, shall the City of Atwater adopt a measure renewing at the 1¢ rate its existing, voter-approved sales tax, providing approximately $4,000,000 annually, until ended by voters, requiring independent audits, oversight, all funds only for Atwater?

2/3 Majority to Pass

For more voting information, contact the Registrar of Voters’ Office at (209) 385-7541 or visit online at

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