Voters appeared to be meeting expectations of low turnout Tuesday morning, even at a historically busy polling station in West Hollywood, where it was so quiet that when one man started to approach, a poll worker joked: “We’ve got a live one!”
Such was the scene at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park, where the number of voters arriving to cast their ballots was little more than a trickle after the station opened at 7 a.m.
At one point, a poll worker stepped outside Fiesta Hall and glanced around for more voters, who were so few in number, those who did arrive got the VIP treatment.
"Quiet day for primaries,” he said. “I've been working these since I was 18. I'm 31 now." He shrugged and walked back inside.
Prior to Tuesday, experts had warned that, in the absence of any heated general interest races or ballot measures, low turnout was likely. Polls stay open until 8 p.m., but most California voters have shed their habit of casting ballots at polling places on Election Day.
Election analysts expect roughly 7 in 10 of the state's nearly 18 million voters will skip the primary.
That’s not to say there isn’t interest in some of the more competitive district races.
On the Westside, the race to replace L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's 3rd District seat is expected to go to a November runoff. It was a race that was on the mind of Steve Martin, a former West Hollywood councilman and longtime resident who was one of the few who turned up in the early morning hours at the polling station at Fiesta Hall.
Among the contenders is John Duran, 54, who has served as both mayor and council member in the city of 37,000 since 2001. The criminal defense attorney has positioned himself as the most fiscally conservative of his two chief rivals -- former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl and former Santa Monica council member and mayor Bobby Shriver -- in the hotly contested race.
Clutching a cup of coffee at the poling station, Martin said he knows both Duran and Kuehl well.
"People have their local loyalties," he said. "Sheila Kuehl is really a historic figure for our community as the first openly gay or lesbian state legislator," said Martin, who is gay.
"I think it's tough because John has done some good things for the community, too,” he added. “People are investing a lot of emotion into this race. If the two of them get in the runoff, it's going to be nasty.”
The race, Martin contended, was also one of the most important elections in the state.
"It's a huge county,” he said. “You're really electing an emperor of the Westside."
Apart from races for supervisor, sheriff and assessor, voters in various parts of the county will cast ballots for Superior Court judges, a Los Angeles Unified School District board member, and local officials in the cities of Long Beach, Glendale and Torrance.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times