SAN DIEGO — Election Day in April? A San Diego lawmaker’s resignation has prompted a special primary election. Here’s what you need to know about the contest.

Labor leader leaves a void

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat who represented California’s 80th District, announced she was leaving her role in the legislature earlier this year. Gonzalez, whose political career often revolved around issues that animated labor unions, said she stepped down to lead the powerful California Labor Federation.

She was also facing a major political obstacle. Newly drawn district boundaries left Gonzalez’s City Heights home outside the 80th District. That meant she either would have to move or challenge a fellow Democrat, the recently elected Assemblywoman Akilah Weber, to represent her new home district if she wanted to remain in the legislature.

Whatever the reason, San Diego County voters are getting a chance to determine who fills in for the rest of Gonzalez’s term, which concludes in December.

Who can vote in the election?

This gets a little bit complicated because of the aforementioned redistricting. Gonzalez was elected under the boundaries of California’s 2011 map for District 80, so that’s who can participate in the election. That includes residents in parts of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City.

The 2011 boundary for California Assembly District 80, which will be used in the special election held to replace resigning Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez in 2022. (Map: We Draw The Lines CA)

Not sure if you live in District 80 under the 2011 lines? You can search for your assembly district by address here.

The new district boundaries won’t come into play until future statewide elections.

When and how can you vote?

Election Day is April 5 and you have a variety of ways to make your voice heard.

The voter registration deadline was March 21, but you can still register and vote at the same time by visiting any in-person polling place through Election Day.

Mail voting:

Under California’s Voter Choice Act, every active registered voter in the district should have already received a ballot in the mail before Election Day. If you didn’t get one but think you should have, you can use the state’s “Where’s My Ballot?” tool.

When you are ready to submit your ballot, you can:

In-person voting:

Some voters prefer to use a physical polling place, and there are ample opportunities to do so in the special election, including some that are already open:

  • Early in-person voting began at the San Diego County Registrar’s office on March 7. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Five in-person vote centers open daily starting Saturday, Feb. 26. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 4. View a list of the locations and more information here.
  • On Election Day, four additional vote centers will open. That makes it a total of nine locations, and all of them will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.

What happens next?

The April 5 special contest is a primary, the results of which will be certified on April 14. At that point, if any one candidate received more than 50% of the vote, they will win the replacement seat outright, serving until December.

If no candidate achieves that mark, the top two vote-getters will move to a runoff, which will be held at the same time as the June 7 primary election.

Who is running for the seat?

There are three prominent candidates running to represent the district: two Democrats and a Republican.

Click on the link for each name to view their campaign website:

You can learn more about voting in the special election at, call (858) 565-5800 or toll free at (800) 696-0136.