Voter turnout for the 2022 California primaries remained low Tuesday with many polling places and buildings with vote drop-offs reporting fewer people coming in than previous elections.
Earlier this week, consulting firms projected that California was likely going to see less than 30% turnout from voters largely due to a lack of exciting races in most places, disappointment from the results and actions from several previous elections, high voter apathy, along with other reasons. While the amount of ballots in on Monday was reported to only be 15%, the amount barely ticked up on Tuesday with the consulting firm Political Data Intelligence (PDI) announced mid-Tuesday that it only moved up to 16%.
While low numbers of people coming in have been universal, some areas are seeing higher numbers than other places. In San Francisco, the recall election of DA Chesa Boudin has brought out many voters either in support of Boudin’s policies or those dead-set against them.
“Over half the people who voted here or dropped off a ballot so far mentioned the race unprompted,” said John, a poll worker in San Francisco, to the Globe. “That’s the election everyone knows about. Pelosi and Newsom, and everyone, they’re an afterthought for most people it seems. A few going into the booths are also only coming out seconds later. It’s obvious they are only voting on the Boudin recall. It’s been like that all day.”
In the North County area above the Bay Area and Sacramento, it was even quieter for the first half of Tuesday.
“Due to the population differences, there’s not as many polling places up here, or vote drop off spots as you would see in LA or San Diego,” explained another election volunteer who wished to remain anonymous. “But even with fewer options, we’ve still just seen a trickle. There’s some local stuff and Congressman and Assemblyman up, as well as Governor, but it’s not like the Newsom recall last year where we had parking problems for the first election here since the Obama-McCain one. There’s no real motivation.”
Low voter turnout
Down South in Los Angeles, a high-profile election, the Mayoral Primary, is also boosting voter figures, but not as much as previously thought.
“I’ve been a volunteer at these places for years,” explained Deborah, a Los Angeles polling center worker, to the Globe on Tuesday. “Even for a primary, we have seen fewer people than normal, and I’m taking into account all those people that vote early or by-mail. Usually we see a large number of people come in just before closing because of them being at work or forgetting until the last minute, but based on the handful of people that came in today so far, I seriously doubt we’ll see lines like we’ve seen in the past. And if the Mayoral election has more people coming than what it would have, it’s really disappointing. I mean, a new mayor may be chosen today if Bass or Caruso get above 50% of the vote from a pool of voters in LA that is, I don’t know, 25%? 30%? That’s not good.”
Next door in Pasadena, with local spots such as City Council positions up for grabs, turnout is also low, with many voters seemingly unconcerned with many of the elections.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people here said they had all the candidates stop by their door during the last several months and them not wanting to have any of them in,” explained Gerald Damons, a supporter for a local candidate campaigning outside a polling center in Pasadena, to the Globe on Tuesday. “I feel sorry for exit pollers because it is obvious that not everyone is voting down the ballot. Many voters actually said to me that they stopped after seeing so many races without someone running against them. It was good to see a lot of young people excited about voting for the first time, because it gives you hope for the future, but even then many were coming in only knowing about a few of the races.”
Finally one polling center worker from Fresno simply gave this as a response: “No one seems to care that the balance of the state is in their hands.”
While the number of voters will likely climb throughout Tuesday, as of Tuesday afternoon, the projection of total turnout being under 30% seems more and more realistic.
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