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Celebrities urge Central Coast residents to vote; March to the Polls set for Saturday

Posted at 5:49 PM, Nov 02, 2018

When he’s not making banana pancakes, UCSB graduate and well-known musician Jack Johnson is apparently encouraging people in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara Counties and elsewhere to vote.

“If you’re gonna vote and I think that you should, I suggest you take a real, real good look at the money,” sings Johnson in a video he posted on Twitter.

He’s not the only star pushing voters to cast a ballot. Mark Ruffalo, who has played Hulk in the Avengers movie, took to social media to tell San Luis Obispo County voters to approve Measure G, which blocks all future fracking.

Activists, politicians and everyday citizens alike are cranking up the volume this election cycle and prospective voters seem to be listening.

The California Secretary of State issued a press release Friday noting that California broke its voter registration record with nearly 19.7 million people registered this election cycle.

Santa Barbara County had 216,000 registered voters at last check. For the first time, Santa Barbara County has more voters registered under “no party preference” than Republican.

SLO County broke its record, with over 172,500 people registering to vote.

SLO County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said Republicans have traditionally represented the majority of registered voters in the county. While that still holds true today, the gap is closing.

“During the last presidential election, there were about 4,000 more Republicans voters (than registered  Democrats),” Gong said. “Now, the Democrats have gained to where there’s about a 500-600 voter difference.”

Four days from the election, a wave of votes are already flooding in.

“We sent about 130,000 ballots in the mail and about 53,000 have come back to us,” Gong said Friday.

Of those mail-in ballots, Gong said about 19,200 came from registered Democrats, 21,700 from Republicans and 9,500 were “no party preference.”

That leaves nearly 120,000 voters with an outstanding ballot.

“There are a lot of elections in this county that come down to 100 votes or less, so it’s imperative that everyone get out and vote,” said SLO County Progressives Officer Melanie Barket.

Barket is a co-organizer of the March to the Polls planned for Saturday in SLO.

The march coincides with similar events across the country aimed at getting voters with outstanding ballots to actually weigh in on the elections.