Alameda County’s voter turnout looks looooooow

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.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.