Competitive Congressional Races Push June Turnout In California

Jul 6, 2018

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Preliminary figures show voter turnout edged up slightly during California’s June primary, helped in part by a handful of competitive congressional races throughout the state.

A month after voting day, California’s primary election is not officially over. The Secretary of State will certify the results next Friday, July 13.

But voting data analyst Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc., estimates 37.5 percent of registered voters cast ballots, just slightly higher than the recent average of 34 percent. Statewide, that wasn’t too different from previous midterm primary elections, which tend to have some of the lowest turnout.

“In gubernatorial primaries the types of people that turned out are the types of people that turned out in previous gubernatorial primaries,” Mitchell said. “Not a lot of change, except in maybe a few of the really hotly contested Congressional races.”

In analyzing the votes in each Congressional district, he found that in areas of the state “safe” for each party, turnout fell below the average of 34 percent. But in competitive races, where the political parties and their spending groups spent millions, turnout did spike. Across those races, it rose to 40 percent.

As far what it means for the November races, high turnout could suggest extra motivation among Democratic voters, while typical turnout would relieve Republicans, who show up to the polls more consistently.