San Luis Obispo County voters turned out in proportionately higher numbers than their counterparts statewide for the June 5 primary election, and the local percentage of turnout is among the top quarter in California, placing 13th among the 58 counties.
The turnout locally was 48.59 percent. Statewide it was 31.06 percent.
The highest turnout in the state was Sierra County’s at 59.23 percent, and the lowest was Los Angeles County’s at 21.83 percent, according to statistics provided by San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald.
In San Luis Obispo County, there were 147,276 registered voters. Of those, 71,565 cast ballots.
Of course, as Rodewald points out, 100 percent turnout in a sparsely populated county provides far fewer voters than 20 percent in a giant place like Los Angeles County.
Nonetheless, Rodewald said, “I think people in SLO County are more engaged in their community,” not only because of its compact size, but also because of its residents’ education level.
“Our citizens may not move around as much,” Rodewald added, “and we are better able to maintain the files for those that do move.”
“We also make every effort to get the word out about elections,” she said.
While 49 percent turnout of registered voters may seem high in comparison to elsewhere, when you crunch the numbers you discover that winning county supervisor candidates Adam Hill and Debbie Arnold will be sworn in with the votes of only 27 percent of those who could have voted in those contests.
Each received slightly fewer than 8,000 votes of the approximately 30,000 registered voters in their districts.
Rodewald also reported to county supervisors that nearly three out of four voters in San Luis Obispo County — 72 percent — voted by mail. That compares to 65 percent statewide.
Two counties — tiny Alpine and Sierra — had 100 percent vote by mail. But Rodewald said she does not see the political will to make all vote-by-mail happen here.
Two states — Oregon and Washington — conduct all vote-by-mail elections.