Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 05/16/2012 06:35:01 PM PDT

San Bernardino County voters need to know where their designated polling locations are come primary election time on June 5 and also be aware their ballots will look a little different, county Registrar Michael Scarpello said Wednesday.

A state law approved in June 2010, the Top Two Open Primary Act, requires that all candidates for a voter-nominated office be listed on the same ballot.

Voter-nominated offices are state legislative offices, U.S. congressional offices, and state constitutional offices.

Essentially, it means that all candidates running for office, regardless of their party preference, will appear on a single combined ballot and voters can vote for any candidate they want.

It changes the way elections are conducted for all state offices and the offices of U.S. senator, U.S. representative, the state Senate and Assembly.

“Everybody votes for everybody,” Scarpello said Wednesday.

County supervisorial district boundary changes necessitated by 2010 Census figures has also forced precinct lines to change.

With those changes sometimes comes a change in polling location, so Scarpello is encouraging voters to check their sample ballots or the county Elections Office website, www.sbcountyelections.com, to see where their polling site is.

“It’s really key that people go to their assigned polling place. This is critical,” Scarpello said, adding that the county has seen a 10 percent reduction in its polling locations since 2008, from 413 in 2008 to 375 in 2012.

That’s due mainly to the county’s high number of provisional voters, which in 2008 comprised nearly a third of the county’s 600,000 registered voters at roughly 150,000, Scarpello said.

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