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Election chief predicts record low turnout Tuesday

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, May 30th, 2008 at 4:35 pm in 2008 June primary.

Voting turnout in Tuesday’s election will reach record lows based on the anemic level of mail-in ballots returned so far, predicts Contra Costa County Registar of Voters Steve Weir.

Here’s what Weir, who is also president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, had to say in an e-mail a few minutes ago:

Lisa,

Turnout looks like it will be the lowest of any primary in the state’s history, and that’s against a very anemic decade of poor primary turnouts.

I’m still predicting a 37% for Contra Costa and a guestimate of 31% for the state.

We have received 87,666 against 231,893 issued or a return rate of 37.8%. So, I believe that we are still on track for a 50% return rate for vote-by-mail ballots. That would give us a 24% turn out.

If 25% of the remaining voters go to the polls, we’ll reach 37%. (That’s only 99 voters per poll site.)

Other registrars are indicating an even worse return rate.

So, I still expect Calif. to reach 31%, but I think my colleagues would question that fact.

Given that the June 7, 1994 Primary was 35.05%, June 2, 1998 was 42.49%, March 5, 2002 was 34.59%, and June 6, 2006 was 33.63%, one could easily argue that the turn out will be in the high 20′s.

I’m going to argue that because so many vote-by-mail ballots have been issued, and given that some members of the public vote out of a sense of patriotic duty, we’re plumbing the bottom of turnout at this election.

Steve

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  • Jason Bezis

    The Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters, along with similar offices across California, need to change the way that write-in candidate lists are distributed. I believe that a write-in vote is not valid unless the particular candidate has registered as a write-in candidate. (A write-in candidacy is how Jerry McNerney qualified for the November 2004 ballot when he first challenged Rep. Richard Pombo.) Supposedly the write-in candidate list is available at polling places, but it must be a secret where it is available. The write-in candidate list should be placed on the Registrar’s website so that vote-by-mail voters can see it.

  • Jason Bezis

    The Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters, along with similar offices across California, need to change the way that write-in candidate lists are distributed. I believe that a write-in vote is not valid unless the particular candidate has registered as a write-in candidate. (A write-in candidacy is how Jerry McNerney qualified for the November 2004 ballot when he first challenged Rep. Richard Pombo.) Supposedly the write-in candidate list is available at polling places, but it must be a secret where it is available. The write-in candidate list should be placed on the Registrar’s website so that vote-by-mail voters can see it.