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California Could See Lowest Voter Turnout Ever on Tuesday



In the Valley, Madera County voters lead the way in turnout thus far at 13%. (Shutterstock)
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It’s never been easier to vote in California, but turnout for Tuesday’s mid-term primary election might set a record for the lowest ever.

Through Friday morning, only 11% of the state’s 22 million registered voters had returned their ballots.

Barring a sudden surge of voter interest, the election could mirror the 2014 mid-term primary that had a record-low turnout of 25.17%.

Among central San Joaquin Valley counties, voters in Madera County lead the way with 13% of ballots returned.

Fresno County, with nearly seven times the registered voters, had an early return rate of 10.6% as of Friday morning.

Merced and Tulare reported totals of 7.3% and 6.6%, respectively. Kings County figures were not available.

Mailing in ballots is the overwhelming choice for Fresno and Madera county voters — where data is available. In Fresno, it is favored 4-to-1 over using a drop box. In Madera, the ratio is 5-2 for mail over drop boxes.

New Poll Shows Big Leads for Incumbents

One of the reasons for the tepid interest perhaps is a lack of compelling statewide races. In addition, voters might be fatigued after last year’s failed recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

A Berkeley IGS Poll released Friday suggests that Newsom will be the runaway winner for the top spot in the November general election. Republican Brian Dahle and independent Michael Shellenberger are battling for the runner-up spot in the state’s top-2 primary system.

Newsom has the support of 50% of likely voters. Dahle checks in at 10% and Shellenberger at 5%. Another 16% of poll respondents said they were undecided.

The attorney general’s race has attracted widespread media attention — especially on Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who is campaigning as an independent.

However, Schubert polled at just 6% compared to 46% for appointed Democratic incumbent Rob Bonta. Republicans Eric Early and Nathan Hochman tracked at 16% and 12%, respectively.

Read more about the poll at this link.

Votes Can Be Returned Through Tuesday Evening

All registered voters received ballots in the mail. They can be returned by mail in the included envelope with postage pre-paid.

Voters in Fresno, Madera, Merced, and Kings counties can also vote early at voting centers or take the sealed ballot envelopes into drop boxes.

The deadline to vote in person or in a drop box is Tuesday at 8 p.m. Mail ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday.

Tulare County is not a Voter’s Choice Act county — rules that expand access in several counties around the state.

Click here to check on an early voting center or drop box near you.


David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email