Voter Turnout is Paltry ... What's Your Excuse?

Marin voter turnout was among the lowest in history, so we're asking Patch readers why they voted — and why they didn't.

Marin County Registrar Elaine Ginnold didn't hesitate to sum up the turnout from Tuesday's primary election.

"It was abysmal," she said Wednesday morning.

Preliminary results showed that 52,004 ballots were cast as of Tuesday night. Just 13.02 percent of the county's registered voters cast their ballots at the polls, Ginnold said, and 22.4 percent voted by mail, resulting in a total turnout of 35.42 percent.

Ginnold said the numbers would change because 20,000 to 25,000 ballots still need to be counted, including several thousand provisional ballots.

She said 19,119 voters visited the polling stations Tuesday.

"I'd say it's probably the lowest in history for a presidential primary election," Ginnold said. "I was shocked. It was very hard to predict what was going to happen because it was the first top-two primary we've had (for the Congressional race)."

President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney were on the ballots for their respective party's nomination. , D-San Rafael, received the most votes for a U.S. Congressional seat and is headed to a November general-election showdown with second-place finisher Dan Roberts, a Republican from Tiburon.

Also, was reelected to represent District 5 on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. James Chou was elected as Marin Superior Court judge, and Marc Levine and Michael Allen were in a tight race for state Assembly seat representing Marin.

Ginnold said in 2008 there was a presidential primary in February and a direct primary for everything else in June, and the June one also resulted in a turnout of about 13 percent.

About 25 people scurried around the registrar's office Tuesday night, taking inventory of ballots and supplies being dropped off from polling stations. The last batch of ballots arrived at about 10:45 p.m., she said.

Many voters dropped off completed ballots at polling places on Tuesday. That method, combined with absentee voting and casting ballots in person, leaves voters plenty of options to participate in our democratic form of government, she said.

"We're making it as convenient as we possibly can," she said. "Why don't more people vote? That's a really good question."

With so much on the line, Patch would like to know whether or not you voted, and why you did not. Please answer the appropriate poll question below, and leave a comment to explain your choice.

Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr June 06, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Several political philosophers have opined that apathy is the greatest danger to democracy. For those of us who can see, that has already happened in California.
Norma Dawson June 06, 2012 at 07:11 PM
This is sad, my daughter voted for the first time year and she was very happy to do so. Don't vote, don't complain. I thought at least prop 29 would get more people out, sad to see it defeated.
honu June 06, 2012 at 07:37 PM
You get what you pay for. If you choose to remain ignorant of the issues and our representatives, this country is headed for the dumpster. This is why Thomas Jefferson stressed that we must educate our people from childhood to adulthood in the 3R's as well as how our government works. We see so many citizens of other countries crying out for freedom of expression, while we go about with our heads in the sand. Don't go marching in the streets next time you don't get what you want. The way to achieve a proper running government is to learn who's the best and then voting with your beliefs based upon a solid understanding of the issues.
Gary Lenstapedo June 06, 2012 at 10:14 PM
With the choices between a Democrat and a Democrat, I abstained.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr June 06, 2012 at 10:33 PM
That seals the end of the two party system in California.
Sandy M June 07, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Agreed. Very sad. This is what the government wants, a bunch of sheep.
Sandy M June 07, 2012 at 05:13 AM
I am tired of voting for the lesser of the two evils. Big Businesses and developers are running the campaigns and winning. The normal "Betty Sue" or "Billy" don't have a chance.
Lloyd June 07, 2012 at 03:37 PM
With so much at stake it saddens, actually sickens me to realize that 3/4 of our population is too self important and apathetic. As the saying goes all evil has to do to succeed is for good people to do nothing.
Jim Finn June 07, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Democracy only works when citizens participate. Lives were lost defending the right to vote. If you do not like the candidates then write in a candidate or vote for yourself. When you submit a ballot you let the Politicians know you are watching and are dissatisfied with what is going on in Government.
janna nikkola June 07, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I don't think it's voter apathy. I think it was more a case of mass hopelessness. The people whom we voted for don't live up to what they promised. The people we elected to represent us don't represent us and ignore our wishes and pass legislation that hurts us and the economy with our knowledge. It's hard to know who's financing political campaigns which will determine how elected officials vote. There are too many secrets -- too many secret meetings and too many secret decisions being made against the will of the taxpayers. The national financial crisis that grew into a global economic crisis didn't "just happen". It was caused by legislation that very quietly passed to deregulate the banking and financial industries which ultimately led to this crisis, yet none of those who backed this legislation will acknolwedge any responsibility for the crisis. The legislation was "The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999" which very carefully avoided using the controversial term "deregulation" which is exactly what it did. There was a time lag between passage of this bill and the dire consequences, so it's hard to connect the dots, but that's what happened. So, for many voters, there seems to be a feeling of "what's the point?" I don't like any of the candidates and there's no way of knowing what they're going to do once they get elected anyway. I think there'll be a better turnout in November -- too many elections bring out too few voters.
janna nikkola June 07, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Oops! I meant to write "The people we elected to represent us don't represent us and ignore our wishes and pass legislation that hurts us and the economy "WITHOUT" our knowledge.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr June 08, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Very well put, but I still think that the majority of non-voters do so out of apathy. They think that everything is just fine, and if they do not do anything that everything will continue to be just fine. I think that the remainder of the non-voters, probably those described by you, feel that they are impotent, that their vote will not count for anything.
Trish Boorstein June 08, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Perhaps if more Novatoans knew what was coming down the pike, they might think differently about their vote. The conditions are ripening up for a perfect storm. Kinsey is back at the helm, Arnold will most likely be reelected (I will do everything I can to prevent this, hopefully others will join in this effort), our Council majority is hoisting up the sails, our two interim planners Brown and Moore know exactly where they're taking us and it's not Shangrila, and our city manager is waiving his hook. What lies ahead for the passengers of this ship?
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr June 08, 2012 at 03:05 AM
A big old iceberg, and there aren't enough life boats. I'm with you.
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