New Low in Voter Turnout Projected in California

Voters in California are going to the polls Tuesday to decide key issues from drug-testing medical professionals to financing relief from a statewide drought.

The Field Poll is projecting a new low in California voter turnout for a general election, while the percentage casting vote-by-mail ballots could hit a new high.

The report released Tuesday predicts a 46.1 percent turnout. Of those who will vote, 60 percent will cast vote-by-mail ballots.

This is the regularly scheduled gubernatorial election that includes other statewide races: Lieutenant Governor, Assembly and State Senate seats as well as Congressional seats.

Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking an unprecedented fourth term in a race with moderate, first-time candidate Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official.

A handful of congressional contests could go either way including the hotly contested race between Republican Carl DeMaio and incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters.

Prop 1, a $7.5 billion water infrastructure bond, would invest in new water storage increasing the amount of water that can be stored during wet years for the dry year, according to the Yes on Prop 1 campaign. Opponents to Prop 1 say the measure does little to relieve the current drought and will require taxpayer repayment of $360 million per year for 40 years.

A yes vote for Prop 2 would amend the California Constitution to change the way debts are paid and money is saved in reserves. Local school district budget reserves would be capped in some years. Opponents say it's bad for schools because it would give schools less than the minimum guarantee for school funding, while putting aside the difference to help the state's cash flow.

Proposition 46 - or the Patient Safety Act - would increase the cap on damages in malpractice lawsuits and allow for drug testing of doctors.

Proposition 47 – also known as the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Initiative” – aims to reclassify current non-violent crimes like drug possession or petty theft from felonies to misdemeanors, unless the prisoner has prior convictions for violent and serious crimes.

A yes vote for Prop 48 would ratify compacts made between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe. Opponents say the measure breaks the promise made years ago that Indian gaming will be only on tribal reservation land.

In Encinitas, a majority vote in support of Prop F would adopt an ordinance to permit and regulate medicinal marijuana dispensaries. Opponents say that if approved, Prop F would make Encinitas the pot destination of North County.

In La Mesa, a similar ballot measure is up for voters' consideration but it is labeled Prop J. Supporters there call it a "win-win" for the city while opponents say that if approved, the measure would damage the city's image.

Prop H in Escondido would adopt the Lake Specifics Plan for property abandoned by the Escondido Country Club. Supporters say a yes vote would add more than 150 jobs for two years and millions of dollars into the city's general fund. Those opposing Prop H say, among other things, the development would add hundreds of students to already overcrowded schools.

More than a dozen mayoral races are taking place around the county including a divisive race in Escondido with incumbent Sam Abed being challenged by City Councilmember Olga Diaz. 

Other cities with mayoral races include Carlsbad, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, National City, Poway and Vista.

San Diegan Ron Nehring, the Republican candidate for the state's lieutenant governor, is challenging incumbent Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

There will be close to 1500 polling places across the county.

Use the NBC 7's Voter's Edge Voter's Guide to find out more about your ballot, polling place and funding for ballot measures.

Voting begins at 7 a.m. with polls closing at 8 p.m. Watch NBC 7 beginning at 8 p.m. as results come in from around the state.

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