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More Republicans than Democrats have voted so far in SLO County’s midterm election

SLO County Clerk-Recorder shows what it’s like to count thousands of ballots

San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong talks about the process of counting ballots on June 6, 2018, the day after the California Primary. Thousands of ballots remain after Election Day in SLO County.
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San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong talks about the process of counting ballots on June 6, 2018, the day after the California Primary. Thousands of ballots remain after Election Day in SLO County.

More registered Republicans than Democrats have returned ballots to San Luis Obispo County election officials as of Oct. 31, despite a slump in the GOP’s registration.

County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong told The Tribune that more than 45,000 ballots were returned as of Wednesday afternoon, after the mail for the day was delivered and processed.

Of those, 18,828 were from registered Republicans, compared to 16,413 returned by registered Democrats and 8,092 from voters who indicated no party preference. Around 1,600 ballots have been returned by voters registered with a third party, such as American Independent.

While no county election is officially partisan, a stronger voter turnout in this midterm election from conservative or liberal-leaning voters would likely sway certain issues such as Measure G, which would ban new oil wells and fracking, and some local races, such as the mayor’s race between Jim Hill and Caren Ray in Arroyo Grande.

And although the county traditionally has leaned Republican, the gap between registered Republicans and Democrats has closed in recent years.

In 2000, there were 10,530 more Republicans (62,002) than Democrats (51,472) registered to vote in the presidential election. As of Oct. 22, there were 587 more registered Republicans (60,117) than Democrats (59,530).

Meanwhile, the number of people declining to state a party preference has grown from 19,460 in 2000 to 42,294 this year.

Monica Vaughan: 805-781-7930; @MonicaLVaughan

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