Guy Ashley, spokesman for the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, said voter turnout for today’s special election looks rather bleak.
“The polling places have had very light traffic,” he said based on reports from the field, noting he had visited a few polling places in North Oakland and Berkeley earlier this afternoon and hadn’t found any with more than 100 votes cast. “I went to one in Berkeley, on the UC campus, that at 1 p.m. had had 13 voters.”
Remember, Alameda County has about 760,000 registered voters at about 405 polling places. Things probably will pick up somewhat after 5 p.m. when people are getting out of work, and Ashley reported they’ve got about 130,000 mail-in ballots already in hand. But those 130,000 ballots amount to a 17-percent turnout rate.
“We’ve been saying 30 percent all along, and I think that’s probably going to be on the high end,” Ashley said.
No major logistical snafus to report, at least. “The biggest issue is that we’ve consolidated precincts anticipating a low turnout on election day, so there are some folks who go to their old polling place and find it’s not functioning,” Ashley said, noting signs were posted to re-direct wayward voters to the correct polling sites.