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Voter Apathy? 28% Voter Turnout in Riverside County

Of the 852,059 registered voters in Riverside County, only about 238,000 of them participated in Tuesday's primary.

About quarter of all registered voters in Riverside County exercised their right to vote in Tuesday's election, with approximately 200,000 people taking part.

Of those who voted, slightly more were registered Republicans versus Democrats, according to data from the Riverside County registrar's office.

As of Tuesday morning, a total of 189,087 ballots had been tallied in the election.  However, another estimated 50,000 remain uncounted for various reasons, according to the registrar's office.

"Approximately 38,000 vote by mail, 7,000 Provisional, and 4,200 damaged ballots that require duplication still must be processed," an announcement on the registrar's website read Wednesday.  "Work on those ballots begins tomorrow."

Breaking Down the Turnout

With the dismal figures listed above, you may be wondering: how does this election compare to those of years past?

According to Assistant Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer, turnout in this election is lower than in other presidential primaries, though "there aren't really any elections to compare this one to."  

That's because this is the first year in which the presidential primary was consolidated with the statewide measures and congressional races.

In February 2008, the last presidential primary, 55.6 percent of Riverside County's voters turned out to the polls, according to Spencer.  She attributes that to the fact that the presidential race was still going strong at that time, as compared to this year, in which the candidates for the November presidential race are all but decided.

"People lose interest," she said.

In the June 2008 statewide races-- 23.5 percent of the county's voters participated in the election, Spencer said.  In the 2010 governor primary, 31.03 percent voted.

Election Results

For most races in this election, voters were just narrowing down the field of candidates to two, whom will then advance on in November.  However, since many of our local races, like the race for US Representative and State Assembly only had two candidates to begin with-- all of those people will advance on by default.

Prop. 28 and prop. 29, two hot-button issues throughout the state, were decided in this election.

As of Tuesday, though some votes may still roll in, state results indicate that Proposition 28-- limiting the amount of time state legislators can serve in office from 14 years to 12 years-- has passed.

However, it appears that Proposition 29-- a proposal to add a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes and other equivalent tobacco products-- has not passed.  The margin between the "yes" and "no" votes is just over 1 percent, though, so late-arriving ballot counts may still sway things.

 

Click here to see the full list of Riverside County election results.

Click here to check out statewide totals for the election.

linda hanna June 07, 2012 at 01:19 AM
So long as Republicans have the edge..aha. I think the low turn out was because the primary system in our country is horrible. By the time CA gets to vote, our presidential nominees are already a done deal and we aren't players. We need a national primary very badly to level the playing field for non-incumbents.
Marc Saxe June 07, 2012 at 04:55 PM
What's surprising is just how much primaries now matter in determining who is on the November ballot. When essentially 14% of the registered voters are all it takes to be one of the "top two"; and when elections that are not national in presidential years or even Congressional, then voters' choice is diminished and democracy, our republic, gets skewed results. There are districts in the state where the November election will only be a one party primary, That will happen more and more. I didn't think this was the USSR. It's easy to find out the demographics of early summer, relatively unimportant election voters. Who says they should be the ones deciding who represents us? The are not a representative cross section of the electorate. This is just a backdoor method of voter suppression, though voluntary.

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