SAN DIEGO — NBA Hall-of-Famer, Bill Walton, stopped by the courts Monday at the North Clairemont Community Center to “Hoop the Vote” and encourage voter participation in the District 4 County Supervisor special election.
“Sports, basketball, it brings us together,” said a smiling Walton. “There’s nothing more patriotic in all of our lives than voting. Countless people have died for our right to vote and the elections; they are what protect us.”
Walton was seen on the court for about a half hour shooting hoops, and the locals were excited to see him.
“That is very cool, very cool; I like to see the guy getting around,” said Clairemont resident Matt Carver.
“That’s awesome; I saw him at an airport once; he’s a tall guy,” said Carver’s wife, Rini.
The basketball courts are behind the community center, one of seven designated voting centers across the district. With campaign posters on display for Walton’s preferred candidate, Janessa Goldbeck, they stayed far away from the polling center so as not to break any rules.
“It’s against the law to electioneer within 100 feet of a polling place or a vote center,” said Cynthia Paes, Registrar of Voters for San Diego County. “It’s against the law to advocate for or against any individual candidate on the ballot, so their likeness, their name, that’s against the law, and our poll workers are trained.”
Walton and company stayed far enough away, and poll workers measured the distance. Vote centers have been open across the district since August 5.
“You can’t complain about whoever’s in office if you didn’t vote at all, so that’s how I always look at it; at least if I vote, my voice is heard,” said voter Damion Barton from Linda Vista.
“I just think everybody should be out voting today. We shouldn’t pass that up ever,” said Tom Graciano, who voted at the county registrar Monday.
District 4 candidates to replace Nathan Fletcher include Janessa Goldbeck, Paul McQuigg, Monica Montgomery Steppe, and Amy Reichert. All 400,000 registered voters in the district received a ballot in the mail; so far, 68,000 have been returned.
“Even if they drop it in the mail, as long as it’s postmarked on or before August 15 and received by our office up to seven days after the election, it’s still timely cast,” said Paes.
Meanwhile, Walton hopes to see as much voter turnout as possible regardless of party affiliation or candidate preference.
“When we come together, we realize the commonalities that we have, and we can overcome our perceived differences here,” said Walton. “Without participation, unless you play in the game, you have no real chance to have an impact.”
Voting centers will be open on election day Tuesday from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the election will go to a runoff on Nov. 7 with the top two vote-getters.
For more information on vote center or drop box locations, click here.
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