Mail ballots coming to LA voters in 51st Assembly district

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Vote-by-mail ballots will be sent out beginning Tuesday to voters in the 51st State Assembly District in Los Angeles. 

The special election takes place on Oct. 3 and has attracted a large field of candidates. It's likely to be skipped by many eligible voters, however, since it's a low-profile race and many may be feeling fatigued by elections. This is the fifth election in 2017 for voters in the Assembly district.

Thirteen candidates are competing for the seat representing the heavily Democratic district. Among them are 10 Democrats, one Peace and Freedom Party member, one Libertarian and one person listing no party preference. No Republicans are running in the race, which represents some of the poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including Chinatown and Lincoln Heights. 

Among the candidates running is Wendy Carrillo, an advocate and journalist who ran against Gomez for his congressional seat bid earlier this year. Los Angeles Community College district board member Mike Fong and Gabriel Sandoval, an attorney who worked in the Obama administration, are also running. 

Sandoval has been endorsed by Gloria Molina, a former member of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Fong has been endorsed by a few L.A. City Council members, including David Ryu and Paul Koretz. Carrillo, who was an early backer of Bernie Sanders' presidential run, has been endorsed by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia.

All three candidates are Democrats. 

The path to this special election began back in 2016 when then-Attorney General Kamala Harris won the U.S. Senate seat. That election set off a line of political dominoes. Xavier Becerra became California's attorney general. Then former Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez left the state Legislature after his election to Becerra's seat in Congress.

The upcoming election will fill Gomez' Assembly seat. The district is home to about 220,000 registered voters. 

Mail ballots will be sent out to district voters in batches. Anyone not already signed up as a permanent vote-by-mail voter can request a mail ballot for this election on the county’s website.

The last day to register to vote online for the election is Sept. 18. If you've recently moved into the district, you'll need to update your voter registration by that deadline to avoid delays.

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