The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Early Word on Turnout in Nevada, California, and South Carolina


We’re already getting some reports that provide a sense of the turnout in the states with big decisions tonight. All things considered, the turnout seems a bit low, considering the big names and big personalities involved in these races, and the highly charged national political atmosphere.

Nevada: “Primary turnout in the Nevada election appears to be around the estimates of about 25 percent in Las Vegas, the biggest city in a state. An elections official with the Nevada secretary of state’s office in Carson City did not reveal current rates statewide and reported no serious voting problem. In Clark County, elections chief Larry Lomax has said that nearly 20,000 voters turned out to vote. That number is expected to more than double and top 70,000 in and around Las Vegas. Election officials have been predicting turnout at 25 percent statewide in an election that sets the stage for a Republican showdown with Reid, one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill.”

California: “Despite the increased rate, the morning turnout was estimated at a mere 2.5 percent of eligible voters at midday in Orange County, where the sheriff is facing two challengers and a new county supervisor will be chosen. In Los Angeles County, voter turnout was estimated to be 7.8 percent at midday, a figure that factors in a proportionate share of ballots already received via mail. The Orange County figures do not include the approximately 250,000 ballots that have been mailed back. About 282,000 mail ballots have been received in Los Angeles County. Statewide, a Field Poll released today said this will be the first year in California where more voters send their ballots in by mail, rather than vote in a polling place. The Field Poll predicts 33 percent of registered voters statewide will vote.”

South Carolina: “Most polling places in the Columbia area are reporting steady, but not overwhelming, voter turnout . . . In Charleston County, workers at St. Andrews precincts 29, 30 and 31 at West Ashley High School report that about three percent of voters registered there have voted this morning. They say they anticipate about 15 percent of voters will have cast their ballots by the end of the day . . . At James Island Charter High School, where voters from five precincts cast their ballots, workers report that about 400 people out of 6,000 registered voters have voted. They project turnout for the day to be at about 30 percent of registered voters, or about 1,800 people . . . On Hilton Head, turnout at St. Andrews was steady and uneventful. About 85 people had voted shortly after 10 a.m., a number poll manager Joyce Flowers said was good for a primary in a non-presidential election.”

Generally speaking, low turnout helps outsider and upstart candidates.


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