Government / Politics

Low voter turnout expected

Official: turnout may be below 33 percent

Fewer than a third of registered voters are expected to cast a ballot on election day, according to San Benito County's top elections official.

"It's going to be a low voter turnout election," said Joe Paul Gonzalez, the clerk-auditor-recorder. "We only have the District 4 (supervisors' race) where the candidates are going to bring out the voters." He also noted that Measure G, a bond measure that would fund improvements at San Benito High School, is a ballot measure of interest for those who have cast ballots so far. "I can say, for those that are voting, it's on their mind."

Gonzalez said turnout could be as high as 33 percent and as low as 28 percent. The previous primary election, held in June 2012 and including the presidential race, had a turnout above 60 percent.

"My recommendation is that people get out to vote," he said. "There are important things that should be decided by voters," noting that Measure F, the abandoned vehicle abatement program, if approved would be renewed for a decade to fund the removal and disposal of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles in San Benito County.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., and soon thereafter Gonzalez said the first returns should be available online. "It will include all the votes we collected over the weekend (during early voting) but not the absent ballots that were mailed in," The first polling place expected to have results ready is the one at the old county courthouse on Fifth Street, where the elections office is located.

The expected low voter turnout means that results of local races could be clarified by 11 p.m. Tuesday.

"I encourage everyone who can vote to come in and vote," Gonzalez said. "This is what keeps our democracy vibrant."

Check back with BenitoLink Tuesday evening for results from the local election.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.