In the hours after polls closed in the closely watched California primary on June 7, reviews from pundits were quick to come in.
Turnout: abysmal. Progressive reforms: rejected. Ex-RepublicanRick Caruso: the surprise star of the night in liberal Los Angeles.
But with the proliferation of mail-in voting, messages from California voters now arrive with a lag — one that hasn’t proven friendly to the quick takes of social media and cable news.
“We used to have a single election day, and often have decisive results for most contests on election night,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation. “Now, we have election month, and a month of vote counting.”
The June 7 primary in Los Angeles County cost $82.2 million, requiring 12,000 election workers to administer an election in which 597 total candidates were seeking 155 offices with voting taking place by mail at more than 600 vote centers. All this in a county of 5.6 million registered voters.
But there was one missing ingredient — or at least not enough of it, based on the early numbers — in this simmering recipe of democracy: Voters.
Just more than 1 in 5 voters cast ballots in L.A. County, according to Tuesday stats rom the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. And the turnout statewide, was at 26%.
Time to throw in the towel on the open primary?
No, says the system’s chief co-designer Steve Peace, the former San Diego-County assemblyman who designed California’s top-two primary, governing state and congressional elections.
California’s primary election won’t be remembered for what happened in a sprawling state Senate district that stretches from Lake Tahoe to Death Valley. But maybe it should.
After all, the one sure thing in the election that ended Tuesday was supposed to be that Republicans win elections in California’s 4th Senate District. The region backed former President Trump twice along with an array of Republicans in national and statewide races stretching back to at least 2010.
But early election results have produced a surprise. Two Democrats appear poised to advance to the Nov. 8 ballot, the result of a six-person field of GOP candidates thinly spreading out the votes and California’s top-two primary system that made its debut in 2012.
Midterm Primary election coverage. California Voter Foundation provides last-minute tips. Outreach for the unhoused community to vote. Sacramento Pride Festival and March this weekend.
CapRadio Reporter Sarah Mizes-Tan joins us live from a polling place on Election Day.
CapRadio Reporter Chris Nichols shares his reporting on the outreach to ensure Sacramento’s unhoused community understands and has access to voting for the Primary.
Kim Alexander with the California Voter Foundation provides last-minute tips for mail-in, registration and in-person voting.
Sacramento Pride Team Collin Lourenco, Camille Adams, Jason Alviar preview the Sacramento Pride Festival and March this weekend, June 11-12. (Full Audio)
On this election day, The California Voter Foundation has a helpful website for people still needing voting assistance. Kim Alexander is president of the California Voter Foundation a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a website calvoter.org that helps educate voters about the candidates.
In the past couple of years, California has done just about everything humanly possible to encourage voting: Mail-in ballots. Same-day registration. Drop boxes. Extended voting. As a result, California has 22 million voters in its electorate.
That’s the good news. The bad news? So far, they seem to be bored stiff with this election.
Political researchers who track the state’s voting patterns, like Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc., project that only about six million Californians will have cast a ballot by the time polls close Tuesday.
“The election just isn’t that interesting right now to Californians,” Mitchell said on Monday, when he reported that only about 3.1 million ballots had been cast at last count.
Once the final ballots are mailed-in, placed in a drop box or cast-in person for California’s June 7 primary, the attention will turn to the election results.
But how quickly will those be made public? And will they tell us the outcome of the races right away?
Election officials and experts say the results will arrive in three separate waves, with the first being released shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m. on June 7.
The first wave will consist of results from the early-arriving vote-by-mail ballots, likely the ones that arrived a few days before the election, said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation.
If California’s statewide primary election feels a little, well, meh in this homestretch of the voting season, you’re not alone.
With only days left for candidates to make their case to voters, most Californians hardly seem to have noticed Tuesday’s contest to winnow the field of state, congressional and legislative candidates down to two finalists. It’s especially noticeable given that there are more opportunities to participate than in any other primary election in the state’s history.
In tracking the return of mail-in ballots, it appears that even a last-minute surge of interest might not keep the June 7 election from landing near the historical low point of voter turnout — in competition with 2014 for the lowest turnout of registered voters in California history.
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Eligible Californians of all backgrounds — including those experiencing homelessness — can vote in the June 7 primary election.
Election officials and advocates for unhoused people say it’s not well known that people without a permanent address can register and cast a ballot. But over the past four decades, state and federal courts have ruled that homeless people cannot be denied the right to vote simply because they lack a roof over their head.
The courts have found unhoused residents can register by listing a shelter, landmark, park or street corner close to where they sleep as their address.
Despite the rulings, as few as 10% of homeless people vote in elections, compared with 54% of the country’s voting-age population, according to an article by Dora Kingsley Vertenten, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California.