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New rules, low turnout mark state's primary election

June 5, 2012 |  3:36 pm

Tyler Smith, 18, is helped by precinct workers, from left, Zachary Tierce, Marsha Blomquist and Frank Cox after voting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Redding, Calif., on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
Once again, the electoral spotlight will be on California as voters make decisions in congressional and initiative campaigns that could have national implication, and set the stage for the remaking of its state Legislature in a massive test of new election rules chosen by state voters.

As always in California politics, money looms large. We are home to the most expensive House race in the country -- the San Fernando Valley race between incumbent Democratic U.S. Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, who have garnered more than $8 million in support of their candidacies -– and a fight over a proposed $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes that has generated $56 million in campaign spending.

All that money to influence what is expected to be a relatively small number of voters. The Field Poll estimates just 6 million of the state’s 17.1 registered voters will cast ballots -- just 35%.

Still, there are plenty of races to watch, including several in the Legislature, where new election rules passed by voters in 2010 are changing the way campaigns are being ru, and could lead to more moderate candidates being elected this fall.

Voters are also being asked for the third time in a decade to change the state’s term limits law.

Stay tuned to PolitiCal throughout the night for complete election coverage, and find the latest election results on the L.A. Times’ Primary Election page

Related links:

Complete California election results

Californians to test new primary system

Election day: Legislative races to watch

-- Anthony York in Sacramento 

Photo: Tyler Smith, 18, is helped by precinct workers, from left, Zachary Tierce, Marsha Blomquist and Frank Cox after voting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Redding, Calif., on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. (Credit: Andreas Fuhrmann / Record Searchlight)

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