It was decidedly quiet at my polling place this morning.
Voters were outnumbered by the precinct workers
when my wife, son and I arrived shortly after 8 a.m.
Fewer than 50 people had voted since polls opened at 7 a.m.
Absentee returns have been slow, and the 53 percent turnout
forecast last week by Sonoma County Clerk Janice Atkinson
seems optimistic. Statewide, the county clerk’s association
projects a 32 percent turnout.
That’s a stark contrast from the presidential primary in
February when 68 percent of the state’s registered voters
cast ballots. Sonoma County’s turnout was 76 percent.
This is the first time — at least in recent history — that
California has separated its state and presidential primaries.
We voted in February ostensibly to have a bigger impact on the
presidential election. In reality, the vote was moved up by
state lawmakers hoping that voters would extend term-limits,
allowing many of them to run in today’s primary.
The term-limits measure, of course, failed. In case you’ve
forgotten, Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary and
John McCain won the Republican primary. McCain and Democrat
Barack Obama carried the Bay Area and the North Coast.
Was California better off voting early for president? Or would
you like to be voting on the close Democratic contest today?
For that matter, have you voted today? If not, do you plan to?
— Jim Sweeney