Live coverage of June 7 California primary: Early voter turnout high in Orange County

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is where we’ll track today’s primary elections in California and beyond. Check back for frequent updates to hear results as they come in, what local polling places look like, whether any protests pop up, who’s saying what on social media and more.

12:20 P.M.: O.C. VOTERS SHARE WHO THEY VOTED FOR AND WHY

Two Aliso Viejo residents cast their ballots one after the other this morning, in the same location, citing the same reason for their votes. But one chose Hillary Clinton while the other chose Donald Trump.

After emerging from his polling place inside Soka University of America’s Founders Hall, Ron Alan said his approach to voting was based on pragmatism.

The 56-year-old financial analyst said he chose Clinton over Bernie Sanders because, as an economist, he couldn’t reconcile Sanders’ promises without an accompanying increase in taxes across the board.

“Everyone wants to make more money and bring jobs back to America, but in a capitalist society, you can’t always have both,” Alan said. “Everyone’s an idealist until they look at their IRA (individual retirement arrangement).”

Meanwhile, marriage counselor and real estate agent Mack Harris said he voted for Trump out of pragmatism, too, rather than popularity.

“(Trump) wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice, but I like his stances on Constitutionalism, the Second Amendment and immigration,” Harris, 67, said. “This week, he said some things that ruffled some people’s feathers. But the beat goes on, and in the end I had to vote for the candidate whose core political beliefs most closely match mine.”

11:30 A.M.: REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ CASTS BALLOT IN ORANGE

After casting her ballot in the primary election this morning at the Orange High School polling station, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Orange, sounded optimistic about today’s outcome.

“We believe they want us,” she said.

Polls have long had Sanchez as the No. 2 contender in the race to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. She’s trailing in polls behind state Attorney General Kamala Harris, who’s also a Democrat. However, the top two vote-getters in today’s primary advance regardless of party affiliation.

Sanchez acknowledged that it’s expensive to run a campaign in California. But in a press conference after she voted, she reiterated her dedication to three major priorities if elected.

“One, immigration reform; two, education; and three, we need to rebuild our infrastructure, our water, our bridges and our highway issues needs to be fixed,” Sanchez said.

Harris Tweeted a photo just before 11 a.m. as she got ready to cast her ballot. She said, “My husband and I just joined our neighbors in casting our ballots! Have you voted yet?”

Thirty-three other candidates are also in the hotly contested Senate race, though none have polled above the single digits.

10:50 A.M.: REGISTRAR SAYS EARLY VOTER TURNOUT IS HIGH

General interest in the 2016 presidential race already has increased voter turnout in Orange County to 2008 levels, according to Neal Kelley, the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

As of 9 a.m. today, polling place turnout was at 2.65 percent. At the same time in 2012, after polls had been open for two hours, Kelley said it was 0.81 percent.

In South County, Kelley said voters “young, old, across the board” were turning out.

The number of mail-in ballots is also already 11 percent higher than it was four years ago, according to Kelley. Mail-in ballots will still be counted if they’re postmarked today or dropped off at any polling location until 8 p.m. tonight.

10:15 A.M.: VOTERS UNDETERRED BY AP CALLING ELECTION FOR CLINTON

With no spoiler alert given, the Associated Press on Monday night took a bit of wind out of the primary sail by announcing that Hillary Clinton had secured enough delegates to become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Bernie Sanders isn’t giving up, though, with Politico announcing he’s secured another superdelegate. And Clinton is encouraging supporters to “keep fighting for every vote,” hoping to still secure a win in the nation’s largest state.

Supporters of both Democratic candidates aren’t rolling over, either.

Joie Valentino, 70, said she still voted for Clinton at a polling place in Tustin this morning.

“I hadn’t really thought about it until today, but we have a female running for president,” Valentino said. “That’s a really big deal.”

Valentino, who’s a trust adviser and longtime Tustin resident, said she felt it was vital to vote today because she feels the presidential race has almost become more about the candidates than the people they represent.

“It’s important for people to be voting because we need our voices heard, not just the ones on TV,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sanders supporters decked the 57 overpass near Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim with handmade signs that said, “Vote for Bernie, he’s not for sale!”

9 A.M.: HICCUPS AT O.C. POLLING STATIONS

A power outage and a paperwork mixup briefly stalled voting at two Orange County polling stations this morning.

Tom Pfau got to his usual polling spot at Crossroad Church in Tustin a few minutes after the station opened at 7 a.m. today. There was a bit of confusion, he said, with two different districts voting in the same spot. But he found the right line and got in place behind a dozen or so people.

The line wasn’t moving. Ten minutes later, he saw people at the front of the line start to walk away.

“The people running the polls said, ‘Sorry folks, we can’t do any voting right now. You’re going to have to leave. We don’t have the right paperwork,’” Pfau said.

The workers didn’t give them direction on when to come back or where else they might go, Pfau said. The voters all left the Walnut Avenue location, he said, passing more cars as they pulled into the parking lot.

“I’ve never had a problem like this ever, and I’ve been voting since the late ’80s,” the Tustin resident said.

Poll worker George Linh said some voters lined up at 7 a.m. were asked to come back later because setup for one of the precincts was not yet complete.

“It was confusing, and we were sort of running around in the beginning,” Linh said.

Linh said setup was completed shortly after polls opened, and by 8 a.m. both precincts were taking voters without trouble.

Pfau said he’s fortunate because he works close by, so he can go back to the station and try again on his lunch break. But he was concerned about other voters who may not have time to go back.

“We’re talking about 1,100 polling places and a little over 5,000 volunteer poll workers, so there are going to be some hiccups along the way,” said Neal Kelley, Orange County Registrar of Voters.

A polling station in San Clemente was also briefly without power, but Kelley said they were able to resolve that quickly.

“We usually anticipate some staffing issues,” Kelley said. “When you’re dealing with a volunteer workforce, you anticipate some won’t show up. But at this point, it seems like workers are showing up and voters are voting. Things are looking good.”

In case any other issues pop up, remember that voters registered in Orange County who can’t cast a ballot at their assigned polling station for any reason are able to vote at any polling spot in the county by requesting a provisional ballot.

8 A.M.: FOUR REASONS YOU SHOULD STILL VOTE TODAY

For a brief, shining moment, it seemed that the California primary might actually, for once, impact the presidential race. Yes, we now have presumptive nominees in both the Republican and Democratic parties. (Thank you, AP?) But that doesn’t mean your votes today don’t count, Californians.

Here are four reasons to still head down to still drop that ballot in the mail or head down to that polling place before 8 p.m.

1. The presidential race isn’t the only one on the ballot. Many of the local races arguably have a more significant impact on your day-to-day life than who sits in the White House. So help pick your next U.S. Senator, state assembly member, county supervisor and more. Check out the full list of seats up for election in Orange County here: OCVote.com

2. You can still send a message with your votes. Happy with Hillary and Donald? Show it. Still feeling the Bern? Let the powers that be know. Bucking the two-party system by backing Gary Johnson or Jill Stein? Make sure your voice is heard.

3. As the saying goes, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” And who doesn’t like to complain? Same goes for bragging rights. Secure your right to four years of “I told you so” with a quick stop at your local polling place.

4. Because you can. That’s not true everywhere, particularly for women and minorities. So exercise those rights and show they matter.

7 A.M.: QUESTIONS AS POLLS OPEN? WE’VE GOT ANSWERS!

1. How do I find my polling place?

Your polling place should be printed on the sample ballot you received from the county registrar. You can also look up your polling place on the O.C. Registrar’s website. Just enter your birthday and the last four digits of your drivers license here: OCVote.com

You can also vote at any polling place in the county by requesting a provisional ballot there.

2. When are polling places open?

All California polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

3. What can I vote on today?

Orange County voters can pick a presidential candidate along with multiple federal, state and county representatives.

You can cast a ballot for any candidate regardless of party affiliation except in the presidential race, where you can only vote for the candidate in the party where you’re registered. Voters registered with No Party Preference can request a Democratic, Libertarian or American Independent ballot at the polling place, as those three parties allow unaffiliated voters to participate.

4. What do I need to bring to vote?

In most cases, nothing.

The exception would be if you recently registered to vote and didn’t provide your drivers license number, California ID number or the last four digits of your social security number on your registration form. In that case, you may be asked to show an ID before casting your ballot. Aside from a drivers license, that can be a passport, student ID, a copy of a recent utility bill, your sample ballot or another government-issued document.

5. What if I still have a mail-in ballot?

You can drop it in the mail so long as it’s postmarked today and should reach your county elections office within three days. Otherwise, consider dropping it off in person.

You can take it to any polling place in the county or drop it at the county election office at 1300 South Grand Ave., Building C in Santa Ana. Either way, it has to be in by 8 p.m. tonight.

If you can’t drop the ballot off yourself, you can send it with a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or someone who lives at your same address.

6. If I still have questions or have problems at my polling place, what should I do?

Call the Secretary of State’s voter hotline at 800-345-VOTE or the Orange County Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600.

The Register would also like to hear about any problems, protests or interesting situations you encounter at local polling places today. See something? Send an email to reporter Brooke Staggs at bstaggs@ocregister.com.

7. Along with California, where else are primaries happening today?

New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota also have primaries today, while Democrats have a caucus in North Dakota.

8. When will we start hearing results?

The first California results, which will come from early mail-in ballots, will be shared as polls close at 8 p.m. The numbers will then be updated frequently throughout the night. Check OCRegister.com for regular updates as results come in.

Staff members Ken Steinhardt, Joshua Sudock and Martin Wisckol contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: bstaggs@ocregister.com, cyee@ocregister.com or bwhitehead@ocregister.com

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