Voter turnout in the June election was abysmal! Correct? Isn’t that what you heard from pundits and from news reports the day after the election? As Calpeek has discussed, it now takes days, if not weeks, to get definitive vote results. The same goes for voter turnout.
Voter turnout was not low. Let’s take a look at how we slice and dice turnout numbers. Please don’t grab for the Ginsu knife, politics is dangerous enough.
Voter turnout was actually higher than any turnout for a non-presidential primary in California history. The key is to look at the actual number of ballots cast, not the percentage of ballots cast based on total voter registration. Total voter registration has increased significantly in recent years, thanks to voter registration drives and automatic voter registration via the CA DMV. That skews the percentages when you look year over year.
In June 2022, turnout was 33.11% which is a lower percentage than the 2018 June Primary turnout of 37.54%. That sounds like a significant difference based on the percentage. But the actual number of votes cast in 2022 was higher by over 100,000 votes: 7,265,413 – 7,141,897. Below is a list of turnout numbers. You can see previous election turnout data here.
Turnout in Presidential Primary election years is always higher than in Gubernatorial Primary election years. However, when comparing turnout, it is important to compare similar election years.
Sometime today, the Secretary of State is expected to certify the election results. There are no longer any counties with outstanding ballots.
June 7, 2022 – Gubernatorial Primary
total votes cast – 7,265,413
total registered voters – 21,941,212
turnout based on total registered to vote – 33.11%
March 3, 2020 – Presidential Primary
total votes cast – 9,687,076;
total registered voters – 20,660,465
turnout based on total registered to vote – 46.89%
June 5, 2018 – Gubernatorial Primary
total votes cast – 7,141,987
total registered voters – 19,023,417
turnout based on total registered to vote – 37.54 %
June 7, 2016 – Presidential Primary
total votes cast – 8,548,301
total registered voters – 17,915,053
turnout based on total registered to vote – 47.72%
June 3, 2014 – Gubernatorial Primary
total votes cast – 4,461,346
total registered voters – 17,722,006
turnout based on total registered to vote – 25.17%