SACRAMENTO (AP) — Election officials estimate voter turnout in California for this year’s general election was on par with past years at less than 60 percent, despite some fiercely competitive races and voter frustration with the status quo.

As of Thursday, preliminary results from the secretary of state’s office showed 7.6 million people—or 44.2 percent of registered voters—cast ballots in person or by mail.

That figure will increase as the state’s 58 counties continue processing a flood of last-minute absentee and provisional ballots before the Dec. 3 reporting deadline.

More than 1 million vote-by-mail ballots remained uncounted statewide, said Gail Pellerin, Santa Cruz County clerk and head of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.

An additional 1.5 million votes would increase California’s overall turnout to 52.6 percent of registered voters. Turnout was 56 percent in the last gubernatorial election, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected in 2006.

Tom Hansford, an associated professor of political science at the University of California, Merced, said he wasn’t surprised by the relatively weak estimates, despite high-profile races for governor and U.S. Senate and perceived voter frustration with Sacramento and Washington.

“Does disaffection drive vote choice? Absolutely. But it’s not so clear that it affects the decision to vote in the first place,” he said.

Numerous counties said they were planning to work through the weekend to sort through outstanding absentee ballots that numbered above 100,000 in some places.

“We’ll keep forging ahead and get through it. None of us are taking any time off right now,” Pellerin said.

Pellerin said she did not yet know what percentage of Santa Cruz County voters cast mail-in ballots, but that it almost certainly would end up being higher than the percentage who voted in person.

That prediction was echoed by county registrars throughout the state.

“The lower the turnout, the higher the percent of vote-by-mail,” said Steve Weir, Contra Costa County registrar and former head of the statewide clerks association.

Weir estimated his county’s overall turnout would be about 62 percent, and that 58 percent of those who voted did so by mail. That included 25,000 voters who waited until Election Day to deliver their ballots, he said.

The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials hoped to post initial estimates of the state’s total vote-by-mail turnout by the end of the week, Pellerin said.

The secretary of state’s office does not provide such estimates, said spokeswoman Shannan Velayas. Final turnout numbers will be reported when the office certifies the election results, which must take place by Dec. 10, she said.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. Lucky says:

    I didn’t vote for the first time in 10 years and that is because no matter what our vote is, it can be overturned. Why bother

    1. tc says:

      thats why i dont wash my car or take a shower or clean my house because its gonna get dirty why bother

  2. rex says:

    Look at what choices we had. I did the homework on 3rd-Party candidates and that’s what we all should have done.

    Going with the FALSE R-L POLITICAL PARADIGM, look what was given to us as choices (thanks to the FALSIMEDIA-backed by Globalist-minded corporations and banksters-especially Goldman Sachs and Meg Whitman) and whoever selected them from the: CFR (Council on Foreign Reliations), Trilateral Commission, the Skull-Bones Society, Freemasonry, the Jewish influence, etc.

    The Mainstream selections were like voting for the WORST VS the WORST: The MSM (Mainstream Media) only mentioned (Moonbeam vs. Meg Whitman-who BOTH SUPPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS), Gary Newsom vs Abel Maldonado, Carly Fiorina (“Jobs aren’t Americans’ god-given right”) and Barbara Boxer, etc.

    The choices were absolutely awful.

    CHELENE NIGHTINGALE for GOVERNOR; If anyone was halfway wise, they should have voted for her. She opposed the Banksters, she 100% opposes ILLEGAL ALIIENS, etc and she is a Constitutionalist.

    But instead, we get ol’ Dopey Moonbeam again.

    JOBS and trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT and the WTO: INTEL just opened up a (clean room, 5-football lengths) in HO CHI MINH City, Vietnam.

    Q: Were the CA politicians (including the governor) of BOTH PARTIES out to lunch or on the planet Mars? Why was this allowed to happen?

    Q: CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE-COMMONWEALTHS of CA: Why did they ignore INTEL’s new factory in VIETNAM? These entities need a serious investigation. If they don’t work for this nation, they should be shut down and that includes ——(CARL GUARDINO and his SILICON VALLEY LEADERSHIP GROUP)!


    Did you know we don’t even make our own thread anymore? That’s how bad it is. Go into any store, (it’s not just Walmart) and look at the labels. Most of it is MADE IN CHINA. The craft-sewing stores are just as bad: Our thread is MADE IN: Mexico, Germany, Greece, etc.

    FINALLY: BREAD AND CIRCUS DISTRACTIONS: Wouldn’t it have been nice if the GIANTS Fans, die-hard gadget collectors and avid movie watchers got just as excited about demanding something be done about our FEDERAL RESERVE-BANKSTER THIEVES, demanding that our borders be secured and our immigration laws enforced and demanding that the evil Free Trade Laws of: NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT and the WTO be ended immediately?

    And realize that our R-LEFT POLITICAL Party Paradigm is completely false?

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