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Historically low voter turnout projected for California's 2024 primary election

California's 2024 primary election may see historically low voter turnout
California's 2024 primary election may see historically low voter turnout 02:51

SACRAMENTO — The 2024 California primary election is a week away and some political analysts are projecting a historically low voter turnout.

"I have loved it ever since I was 18 years old because my mother always voted, and I watched her ever since I was 18 and I am going to be 69 tomorrow," said Linda Smith, who was voting early Tuesday in Sacramento County.

Smith has been voting for decades and now appreciates the ease of voting early and getting help from voting centers in Sacramento County.

"It is easy now. Like, you know the mail-in ballot? I really like that because before then we used to have to get in a long line," she said.

Sacramento County spokesperson Ken Casparis said voter turnout is only at 10% just a week out from election day. He hopes to reach the usual 50% for primaries.

"A large percentage of our voters either vote by mail or use ballot drop boxes," he said.

San Joaquin County is unique with its old-school polling places on election day.

"Even though we're traditional, we still have all those options available," said San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters Olivia Hale. 

Hale said the county had around a 5-7% voter turnout as of Tuesday. It usually reaches around 45% during primary presidential elections.

So why do political analysts project Americans won't turn out this primary?

"The presidential nomination contest seems to be virtually over before they've begun," said James Adams, a political science professor at UC Davis.

Adams said that with current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump as the front runners, voters do not feel their vote will make an impact.

"You have two presidential candidates that are not generating very much excitement, certainly not positive excitement," Adams said.

He told CBS13 that California's Senate race may be more competitive, but the candidates are also not too flashy.

"Some would say they lack charisma and there seems to be a certain lack of star power there," said Adams.

Historically, primary elections get the most participation from older folks who are passionate about politics.

Time will tell if voters turnout or if California will see its lowest primary election participation yet.

"We need to see a good voter turnout because you know what, it's like crazy," Smith said.

In California, no matter the county, you will receive a mail-in ballot, which is the most popular method of voting. You must have that mail-in ballot postmarked by 8 p.m. on March 5 for it to count.

If you choose to go to a polling place or voting center to cast your ballot on Election Day, you will need to be in line by 8 p.m. to make your vote count.

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