June 18, 2012 - Final primary vote count confirms record-low turnout for SF
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, City Insider Blog
Title: Final primary vote count confirms record-low turnout for SF
Posted: June 18, 2012
Posted By: Neal Riley
All the votes have finally been tallied from the June 5 primary and the turnout figures don’t exactly paint a pretty picture of how seriously San Franciscans’ take their civic duty.
Turnout among the city’s registered voters was 30.83 percent – the lowest ever for a modern presidential primary, said Elections Director John Arntz. The average turnout for the last 10 presidential primaries was 51.3 percent, and the previous record-holder for such a dismal showing was the 1996 presidential primary with 40.47Ö percent.
More than twice as many voters cast a ballot in the February 2008 presidential primary. Back then, California still participated in Super Tuesday and the dead heat between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and a still-competitive GOP race helped drive up turnout. This time around, voters knew they’d be stuck with Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney regardless of how their state voted.
Only 10.58 percent of registered voters actually went to a polling place to cast their ballot, with 20.25 percent opting to mail in their vote.
“That’s not a lot of activity on election day, that’s really low,” Arntz said. “I think one truism of elections is that what’s on the ballot drives turnout, but I don’t know what it was about this ballot that didn’t drive turnout.”
Arntz has higher expectations for city voters in the general election.
“Despite the turnout for June, we are prepared for a solid turnout for November,” he said.
© 2011 Hearst Communications Inc.