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Polls open today in statewide election

May 19, 2009 |  7:57 am

Tawana White casts her vote in the California statewide special election at the U.F.C.W. Union Local 770 polling place in Harbor City.

California voters head to the polls today to vote on six state budget propositions that could have a huge impact on the state's fiscal crisis.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose legacy will be shaped in part by the election's results, made a final pitch to voters Monday before leaving for Washington to join President Obama at the White House today for an announcement on auto emissions rules.

Tonight's results will gauge what polls suggest is voter fury over the failure of the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature to balance the state's books. As Californians struggle with joblessness, home foreclosures and sharp losses in the stock market, the state has raised taxes, cut spending and borrowed to fix a $42-billion shortfall -- and still remains more than $15 billion shy of a balanced budget.

If voters reject Propositions 1C, 1D and 1E -- the three chief money-raisers on today's special election ballot -- the shortfall will grow to $21 billion.

-- Michael Finnegan and Michael Rothfeld

Photo: Tawana White casts her vote in the California statewide special election at the UFCW Union Local 770 polling place in Harbor City. Credit: Allen J. Schaben  / Los Angeles Times

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