Record numbers vote on Feb. 5

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has confirmed what most election officials have already said: A record number of residents voted in the Feb. 5 primary. Nine million Californians cast ballots, nearly 1.2 million more than the prior record set in March 2000.

Here’s what her office sent out after the official certification of the election results:

SACRAMENTO – A primary record nine million Californians voted in the February 5, 2008, Presidential Primary Election in California, according to results that Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified today.That’s nearly 1.2 million more voters than the previous primary election record of 7.8 million, set in March 2000. In all, 57.71% of registered voters cast ballots in the February election, marking the highest primary turnout on a percentage basis since 1980. The highest-ever percentage turnout in a primary was nearly 73% in 1976.

General elections tend to draw far more voters to the ballot box. The highest number of voters in a general election was nearly 12.6 million in 2004; the highest percentage turnout for a general election was nearly 88.4% in 1964.

“The closeness of the Republican and Democratic contests, and the ability to truly help pick the next presidential nominees, clearly motivated Californians to head to the polls in record numbers for a primary election,” said Secretary Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer. “I hope voters, particularly people who registered for the first time to vote in the February election, will keep up the momentum and head to the polls again in June and November.”

The certified election results are available on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/sov/2008_primary/contents.htm. Hard copies of the Statement of Vote are available to the media upon request from the Secretary of State’s Communications Office at (916) 653-6575.

The Statement of Vote includes presidential results broken down by party, county, and Congressional District. It also includes statewide and county-specific results for the seven statewide ballot measures that were on the February ballot.

The Secretary of State’s office will release a Supplement to the Statement of Vote by July 13. It will include more details on how votes were cast by Senate, Assembly, Board of Equalization, and county supervisorial districts, as well as by city.

The last day to register to vote in the June 3, 2008, Statewide Direct Primary Election is May 19. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is May 27.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen