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San Diego County Turnout Just 20 Percent

Political Scientist Calls It “Perfect Storm Of Disinterest”


Michael Vu, Registrar of Voters, San Diego County

John Nienstedt, President & CEO, Competitive Edge Research

Carl Luna, Political Science Professor, Mesa College


San Diego County voters exceeded expectations of a low turnout for Tuesday’s primary election, with just 1 in 5 registered voters casting a ballot.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s office reported 317,510 ballots in San Diego County were cast out of more than 1.5 million registered voters.

Prior to Tuesday’s election, experts had warned low turnout was likely because of a lack of heated races and ballot measures and voter fatigue.

“We just had fires in San Diego, that probably disrupted some things. There was no high-ticket, sexy component to this race. The governor’s race is a yawn, it’s not like it’s a presidential race. It’s a perfect storm of disinterest," Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna said on Evening Edition. “That being said, San Diegans will now have to live with the results of their disinterest. Hopefully they’ll be more motivated to vote in the fall."

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu projected Monday that 35 percent of registered voters would cast a ballot. Meanwhile, the National University System Institute for Policy Research predicted a turnout of 18 percent to 23 percent.

Over the last 18 months, San Diegans have voted for a new mayor, a city councilwoman, a state senator and an assemblywoman — mostly in separate special elections. The mayor and council races each resulted in two votes, a primary election and a runoff.

Polls stayed open until 8 p.m., but most San Diego County voters have turned to casting their ballot via mail rather than voting at a polling location.

City News Service contributed to the information in this report.

Election 2020 news coverage


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