Voter Turnout Remains Low in the California Primary With Less Than a Week to Go

With less than a week until the California primary’s last day of voting, voter turnout in Los Angeles County and throughout the state is currently declining.

Out of the 5.6 million voters in L.A. County who are registered to vote, just 343,817 have returned ballots, representing a 6% overall turnout.

Out of the state’s 22 million registered voters, just 2 million (or 9% of the total) had returned ballots sent in by mail.

“We would have thought by now we’d be well over that 10% mark,” said Paul Mitchell of Political Data Incorporated. “Presidential primaries generally are at around 50% turnout. They get really high turnout when primaries are really competitive for Republican and Democratic presidential primaries, but this cycle there really isn’t a lot of enthusiasm for those races. Coming into California, there’s not a lot of voters waking up saying this is the most important election of my lifetime and so they’re just not returning their ballots quickly and likely going to be pretty low turnout.”

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Voter Turnout Remains Low in the California Primary With Less Than a Week to Go

According to Mitchell, local races are important, but they do not generate the same level of attendance as national races.

Los Angeles County District Attorney candidate Nathan Hochman is worried about the low anticipated attendance.

Despite his poor approval rating, he believes that incumbent DA George Gascón may benefit from low attendance and a crowded field of contenders.

“Obviously I’m concerned any time not enough people are voting,” Hochman said. “I want everbody who can vote, to vote. There is no more important election for your safety in Los Angeles County than the DA’s election.”

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According to Mitchell, primary turnout might also have an impact on the November general election.

“When we see turnout that drops, it has a material effect on our choices going into November,” Mitchell stated. “There are a lot of people who care passionately about politics and care deeply about the policies of the state that won’t vote in this election because they think, oh I will vote in November because that’s when my vote is really needed. But they might find that the race is essentially decided by the time it gets to November and one great example of this is the U.S. Senate race.”

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