Lowest Voter Turnout in 46 Years Forecast by Eu

From a Times Staff Writer

Calling it “a sad state of affairs,” Secretary of State March Fong Eu predicted Friday that the percentage of voters turning out for Tuesday’s primary election will be the lowest in 46 years.

Eu said she expects 5.7 million voters to cast ballots in the primary, which is 47% of the state’s 12.2 million registered voters. The last time there was a smaller turnout was in 1940 when 43% of the registered voters went to the polls.

“I hope voters prove me wrong, and that my prediction of a record low primary turnout falls far below actual participation rates,” Eu said. “I simply do not sense a high degree of interest in this primary, however.”


Eu based her prediction on a series of factors including the level of voter registrations, predictions issued by county election officials, weather forecasts, recent gubernatorial primary turnouts and her estimation of the public’s interest in ballot propositions and the various contested races that appear on the ballot.

A spokeswoman for Eu said her predictions of voter turnout have been accurate to within 2% during most of her 12 years in office. Earlier this week, pollster Mervin Field predicted an even lower voter turnout of 43%.

Eu said it is a “sad state of affairs when only 5.7 million citizens determine the candidates and issues for 26.6 million residents of California.”