Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 08/27/2011 07:09:40 AM PDT

UPLAND – The 11 candidates running for City Council have two days left to sway any last minute or undecided voters.

As of Friday, a little more than 8,600 of the 36,000 ballots sent out to residents have been returned to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, which means there may still be an opportunity for candidates to win last-minute votes.

The deadline for the all mail election is Tuesday.

There should be a large amount of ballots heading to the registrar during the last days of the election, said Doug Johnson, a research fellow with Claremont McKenna College’s Rose Institute.

“Usually there’s a fairly big surge the final weekend and there will probably be a lot of people dropping their ballots off on Tuesday, those who procrastinate and wait until the last minute which everyone tends to do,” Johnson said.

But the turnout so far is actually pretty good, he said.

“Usually (elections) turn out between 20 and 25 percent,” Johnson said. “Since they’ve hit that number even before the final rush they’re doing a little better than average.”

Although the election is winding down, voters can still expect to see candidates out in public, hear from candidates over the phone or even correspond through e-mail.

Sam Fittante, retired owner of a lawn maintenance company, said he is still running into residents who have not voted yet.

“I’m not actually asking them to vote for me. I’m handing them my cards and saying, “Please vote’,” Fittante said. “I’m still optimistic that I have a slim chance.”

Debbie Stone, funeral director at Stone Funeral Home in Upland, said she, too, is still hearing from undecided voters.

“I’m getting a lot of questions through my email account and calls where people are calling that are undecided and asking different questions,” Stone said. “We’re also pursuing some non-traditional avenues, and they actually seem to be a very good source, so we’ll see I guess.”

Elaine Courey, a Bonita Unified School District teacher, is making sure her family, friends, neighbors and co-workers do not forget to vote.

“I keep bugging them and asking them, `Have you voted? Have you voted?’ ” she said.

Dan Morgan, the city treasurer, is relying on the phone lines to get the word out.

“At this point, phone calling is the thing that will probably have the most use,” he said. “I’m having fun communicating with people.”

Ladan Bezanson, a learning coordinator for Montclair, will be speaking with some of the city’s shoppers over the weekend.

“I’m going near shopping centers and talking with people and passing out fliers,” she said. “I’ve been hitting public events and also been distributing fliers throughout neighborhoods. This is my last push here.”

Voters may see Maureen Sundstrom, an attorney, at the grocery store or her children’s school wearing her campaign shirt.

“One purpose is they can identify me and know who I am. They can ask me questions and talk to me, which has worked,” Sundstrom said. “It has also kind of allowed people to see who I am at the grocery store, who I am at my kids’ school – what kind of person I am and get to know me.”

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