Paltry turnout forecast for Placer County election Tuesday

Elections chief says voter turnout could be fewer than 50 percent
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Most Placer County voters could be greeting Tuesday?s election with a big yawn, projections from elections chief Jim McCauley are suggesting. If McCauley?s projection turn out to be true, just short of one in every two registered voters will cast a ballot either by mail or at the polls on Tuesday. McCauley, the county clerk-recorder-registrar of voters, is forecasting that the turnout will be as low as 46 percent. Several factors are combining to keep voters from turning out, McCauley said. But he?s also projecting that they?ll be returning to cast ballots in the November presidential election. So far, the elections division has received 29,443 vote-by-mail ballots ? or 24.1 percent of the ballots it had sent out. There are 195,475 registered voters in the county and 122,381 have signed up for vote-by-mail ballots. ?Our projections are when it?s all said and done, when all votes have been counted. we?ll have a 46 to 51 percent turnout,? McCauley said. McCauley said a major reason for the lack of voter interest will be the Republican Party?s primary elections in other states have already sealed the nomination of their presidential nominee Mitt Romney. ?They won?t be going to the polls to decide who their standard-bearer will be,? McCauley said. Another factor will be the absence of special-district elections on the June ballot. ?That?s going to happen in November, so we lose those local elections,? he said. ?The only thing left is the smoking tax question,? McCauley said. ?How many people will come out for that, I have no idea. There?s really nothing to attract voters to the polls and we?re probably about 15 points lower than we should be at this time right now.? The presidential election in November should result in a voter rebound, McCauley said, noting that the 2008 presidential election drew an 89 percent turnout in Placer County. ?In the meantime, I?m trying to squeeze every vote out of the people,? McCauley said. The elections division office on Richardson Drive in North Auburn will be open this coming weekend. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to allow voters to bring in mail ballots or have one issued if they are already registered. McCauley said he can take some consolation in the fact that Placer County will still have a turnout that will be at least 10 percentage points above the state average. Projections in California are for a 29 to 31 percent turnout. Meadow Vista?s Wally Reemelin, former president of the now-defunct League of Placer County Taxpayers, said he?s encouraging everyone to vote ? as long as they?re educated about the election and know what they?re voting for. ?It?s the only chance to have your say in government so why not vote?? Reemelin said. Reemelin said the lower predicted voter turnout will benefit incumbents so staying away from the polls also has an impact. ?But the voters don?t think that way,? Reemelin said. ?Even one vote in a race can make a difference in an election that could be won by one vote.? It?s also important for voters to know what they?re casting votes for, he said. ?If you don?t know what you?re voting for, don?t vote at all,? Reemelin said. ?You don?t want to give a bad candidate an uplift ? even one vote. Every time it happens we end up with problems. It?s not just dart-throwing. We?re a country where the public decides how we?re governed and we?re lucky to have that.? What?s on the ballot Measure A ? Proposal to make Auburn a charter city Measure E ? Special tax for Placer Hills Fire District Measure D ? Special tax for North Auburn-Ophir fire area Measure C ? Proposal to repeal Measure B for Foresthill Public Utility District Placer County District 5 Board of Supervisors election Placer County District 3 Board of Supervisors election