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VALLEY NEWSWATCH / A SPECIAL REPORT: TO THE POLLS

October 31, 1994|Marc Lacey

VOTERS ROUSED: State officials expect a record voter turnout next week--in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere. The turnout was 59% in 1986, when George Deukmejian beat former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley for governor, and 55% in 1990, when Pete Wilson beat Dianne Feinstein. . . . No official turnout projections will be given until Friday, but acting Secretary of State Tony Miller says: "Interest is building. Our phones are ringing off the hook."

HOT PROP: The hot button is Prop. 187. Last week, the illegal-immigrant measure had students rushing out of class to protest. Next week, it sends parents and others rushing to voting booths. . . . "Prop. 187 is driving this election," says political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe. "People are far more interested and motivated by Prop. 187 than the governor's race or the Senate race."

ABSENTEE WAVE: More voters than ever will do no rushing at all--they'll just drop a ballot in the mail. Absentee ballot applications are setting records (chart above). Reasons: Political campaigns increasingly promote it. And those who try it tend to stick with it. "Probably the wave of the future," says Miller.

FORTUNES OF WAR: The Valley has 14 contests--eight Assembly races, one for state Senate and five for Congress. Tight campaigns: Republican Assemblyman James Rogan versus former federal prosecutor Adam Schiff for Glendale-Burbank Assembly seat. . . . Democratic Rep. Anthony Beilenson vs. Richard Sybert in the West Valley congressional district.

MADNESS OF CROWDS: Who benefits from a monster turnout? Theories conflict. One scenario: Anti-immigrant sentiment boosts Gov. Wilson over Kathleen Brown, helping other GOP candidates. . . . On the other hand: Prop. 187 attracts voters angry at the status quo who punish all incumbents. For certain: The people will speak, and some servants of the people won't like it a bit.

Absentee Voters

With the election still eight days away, more absentee ballot applications have been requested in Los Angeles County than in any previous election: 1986: 223,465 1990: 375,023 1994*: 391,000 * As of week of Oct. 26

Source: Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder's Office

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