El Dorado County voters speak through ballots

By From page A3 | November 16, 2012

El Dorado County has 110,750 registered voters, and this year, about 80 percent of them exercised their right to vote. This turnout, while not a record for the county, is still far above both the state-wide and national average voter turnout for 2012.

Although it’s too early for definitive numbers, with provisional and mail-in ballots still being counted, the national average for voter turnout is estimated to be about 58 percent for all eligible voters, while the state-wide average is closer to 71 percent.

According to the Nov. 9 updated Semi-Official Consolidated General Election Report, El Dorado County voter turnout was 78.58 percent. But that could change.

“We’re still counting 2,400 provisional ballots and 400 ballots that were ripped or torn and have to be repaired before they can go through the machines,” said El Dorado County Recorder-Clerk-Registrar of Voters and Department of Veteran’s Affairs Director Bill Schultz on Nov. 13.”In the final analysis, I’m predicting our voter turn-out will be 80 to 81 percent.”

This is a drop from the 84 percent turnout in the county in the 2008 elections, but the drop follows a state-wide and national trend. All states noted a drop in voter turnout from the 2008 elections. The national turnout dropped from 62 percent in 2008 to 58 percent in 2012.

Also following the growing national and state-wide trend, more than half the ballots cast in El Dorado County were mail-in ballots with 74,664  mailed out to voters in the county. More than 63,000 mail-in ballots were returned to be counted for the vote.

In the Nov. 9 El Dorado County semi-official report 39 percent of the registered voters in El Dorado County voted for Barack Obama, while 57 percent voted for Mitt Romney.

Registered Democrats in the county number 32,402, while registered Republicans number 48,806 and there are 22,298 people registered as non-partisan. Various other parties represented in the county include: American Independent, Christian, Conservative, Constitution, Green, Independent, Libertarian, Justice, Miscellaneous Affiants, National, National Unity, Irish Rights, Natural Law, Peace and Freedom, Reefer Raiders, Reform, Rock and Roll, Socialist, Socialist Workers, Tea Party, and United We Stand.

El Dorado County was the first county in the state to give  military and overseas voters the ability to download their Sample Ballots and Official Ballots and fax or mail their completed ballots to their county. One hundred and eighty-seven ballots were downloaded by people in 41 countries. The program, first implemented during the June Primary Election, was part of a grant that Schultz applied for on behalf of 13 counties.

“As our military members stationed overseas, on board ships and submarines around the world continue to provide vigilance protecting our way of life, they should at the least be provided with the tools that enable them to exercise their right to vote, regardless of where they are,” said Schultz.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Wendy Schultz

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