CA primary turnout not record low, but vote count still slow

CA primary turnout not record low, but vote count still slow

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April Cole takes an “I Voted” sticker after casting a ballot at a polling site at the California Museum in Sacramento on March 5, 2024. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

The latest official tally from the Secretary of State’s office shows that 4.8 million ballots have been counted from California’s primary, with 2.5 million still to go.

Based on the late Friday numbers, the total of nearly 7.3 million votes means a turnout of about 33%, well below the norm for presidential primaries, but not the record low that some analysts projected based on early numbers.

It also means that it’s going to be a while before some results are finalized, likely amplifying complaints that it takes too long to count votes in California. While voting by mail has been happening for a month, as long as ballots were postmarked by last Tuesday and they arrive at elections offices by this Tuesday, they will be counted. As expected, the votes being counted after primary day are trending more Democratic and younger.

While the U.S. Senate and other races have been called by media organizations, and candidates have declared victory or conceded in others, many other closer contests and the only statewide ballot measure, Proposition 1, still hang in the balance. The Secretary of State has until April 12 to certify the results.

At the same time, the state has been trying to increase voter registration: The rate among all eligible voters is now at 83%, up from 68% in 2008. But those new voters are less likely to regularly cast ballots, which leads to a lower percentage turnout.

A new Public Policy Institute of California brief points out that automatic registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles has increased the registration rate by four percentage points since 2018.

But while the changes were designed to make the electorate more representative of California’s diversity, there have been only small increases for historically underrepresented groups, the report says.

And new registrants tend to be less familiar with elections and are less likely to actually vote. In 2020, the turnout gap between them and voters overall was similar to the existing gap between voters older than 65 and those younger than 25, who are also less likely to vote.

  • The report: “New registrants… have less experience with the political system and need more engagement to become regular voters.”

Campaign finance: The state’s campaign finance watchdog has a new leader. Late Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he has appointed Adam Silver as chairperson of the Fair Political Practices Commission. Silver, a Democrat and chief counsel for the Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee since 2018 and the commission counsel from 2017 to 2018, replaces Richard Miadich, chairperson since 2019. Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas called Silver “a true ambassador for compliance.” The position does not require Senate confirmation and pays $241,728 a year.


 

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19 Comments
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Lone Ranger
Guest
Lone Ranger
1 month ago

People tired of the bullsheet, turn out will keep getting lower. The older crowd just hasn’t figured out voting is just sham. Your choices are pinned up in front of you, not much of a vote.

Thatguyinarcata
Guest
Thatguyinarcata
1 month ago
Reply to  Lone Ranger

Probably mostly people deeply disinterested in the same two old shitbirds running again.

D'Tucker Jebs
Member
1 month ago

That they both have a lock on their Party’s primary certainy doesn’t help drive people to the polls.
Still, it’s a shame more people don’t take an interest in the down-ticket races.

Humboldt
Member
Humboldt
1 month ago
Reply to  Lone Ranger

I was thinking something similar.
Over time, I’ve been hearing, more and more, how the current system needs an overhaul.

Especially, for me, that was disheartening was when, a few cycles ago, someone(George W?) won the presidential because of the electoral college, and lost the popular vote.

It makes one feel that voting doesn’t matter.

But, as one person said, below, the down ballot, things that affect the state, county or municipality, are not determined that way, thus I do regularly vote to address those issues.

It may take a few decades, or more, to see a change, but I think an overhaul is inevitable.

We were drilled with the 1776 slogan, “No taxation without representation.” as children in school.

i keep hearing that, in my head, when I see what is done in our name on the federal level.

Peanut15
Member
Peanut15
1 month ago

So, how on earth do they know the late mail in votes are Democrat and young? I wasn’t aware our ages were on the ballots too! Did they take the time to look up everyone and in what database? This is proof that all kinds of crooked continues in CA! Stop voting by mail people! This is your Republic, stop being lazy and helping the cheaters cheat! Take back control of your vote and your country!

Friday
Guest
Friday
1 month ago
Reply to  Peanut15

If you had voted, you might have noticed that your name and address are on your ballot.
You might have noticed that the ballots are labeled “Democrat”, “Republican”, etc, since it’s a primary election.
You might have noticed lots of stuff, if your head wasn’t up the chocolate conspiracy trail.

Monkey Balls
Guest
Monkey Balls
1 month ago
Reply to  Peanut15

Republican absentee vote in past crucial. Absentee late counts change early results. GOP win local, state, national. Arnold Schwarzenegger governator. Bush president because absentee. Republican party encouraged absentee.
Trumpublicans discourage now. GOP loses.
Thank you. Please keep discouraging.

ABA
Guest
ABA
1 month ago
Reply to  Peanut15

People voting against your preferred candidate is not “cheating.”

“Stop voting by mail people! My party might lose!”

Ernie Branscomb
Guest
Ernie Branscomb
1 month ago
Reply to  Peanut15

They know WHO voted, just not how they voted.

In person with an I.D. is the only way of voting that cannot be questioned. Many people vote for everyone in their family and some of their lazy friends. All they have to do is get their signature on the ballot.

However, since when has politics ever been honest?

Monkey Balls
Guest
Monkey Balls
1 month ago

“Many” people commit multiple felonies?

Thatguyinarcata
Guest
Thatguyinarcata
1 month ago

In person voting with ID is a nice idea but for it to make practical sense and not make voting out of reach of some people we would need a free vote id available to any eligible voter, special transportation arrangements to ensure getting to their nearest polling place was feasible for everyone eligible, and either a federal holiday or multiple days of voting to ensure that working people wouldn’t be excluded.

In short, it would make elections massively more expensive to operate

Jeffersonian
Guest
Jeffersonian
1 month ago

Absolutely.

F. Hue
Guest
F. Hue
1 month ago
Reply to  Peanut15

The only option we have in my SoHum district is to vote by mail or not vote at all…so vote by mail it is! And there is a unique QR code on each ballot so one may track its progress through the process. I feel comfortable and secure voting by mail.

tru matters
Guest
tru matters
1 month ago

Big deal. Everyone is in such a hurry these days. Take your time do it right.

Espino
Guest
Espino
1 month ago

You’re wasting your time voting in a mail in system. Ask Europe where 63% of the 27 EU countries have outlawed it and another 22% require an ID to receive a ballot. It’s a scam
Come to California from another country, get a California drivers license and the DMV will register you to vote, despite your status. Democrats did that.

D'Tucker Jebs
Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Espino

Mail-in voting in Federal elections goes back to 1864, hen Lincoln was President.
So, it would be more accurate to say Republicans did that.

Monkey Balls
Guest
Monkey Balls
1 month ago
Reply to  Espino

US require ID, granny has no valid ID.
Poland require ID, granny issued ID automatically by law.
Poor Trump argument. Issue compulsory national ID, then make the argument.

Canyon oak
Guest
Canyon oak
1 month ago

33% voter turnout.
im gonna guess alot people don’t believe in America.
leadership needs to rebrand and try better next time.
division narratives do not build a strong empire

farfromputin
Member
farfromputin
1 month ago

Let the data sing its voice. Being happy is a choice.