Data from the California Secretary of State’s website showing Del Norte County had the highest voter turnout of any county in the state is wrong, according to county Clerk-Recorder Alissia Northrup.
The secretary of state’s website reported 65.7 percent of Del Norte County voters cast a ballot in the June 5 primary election on Tuesday.
Although her office is still counting ballots, so far only 32.77 percent of the county’s 14,151 registered voters turned out, Northrup said. She said her office is still counting mail-in and provisional ballots.
“We’ll have to contact them and file to fix it,” Northrup said of the Secretary of State’s website. “That’s way way wrong.”
Since this year’s ballot consisted of two cards, Northrup said it’s possible the state counted each card that was submitted instead of each ballot.
Voter turnout in Del Norte County was lower this year than in the June 7, 2016 primary. According to Del Norte County’s Statement of Vote from the June 2016 primary, 6,181 voters cast a ballot two years ago. According to Northrup, however, that’s to be expected.
“Usually the primaries on midterms are not as busy or as good a turnout,” she said, noting people were voting for president in 2016. “But this, I think, is really low.”
Making sure every voter gets a ballot costs the county money, Northrup said. In the 2016 election, Northrup estimated that Del Norte spent $60,000 in printing and postage costs. With labor and voting equipment, Northrup said the 2016 election cost the county $100,000.
Printing and sending ballots out to voters for Tuesday’s election will likely cost the county about $60,000 as well, Northrup said. She noted in addition to printing and postage costs as well as labor and equipment, poll workers receive $75-$100 per day.
Looking to the November general election, Northrup said with California advancing its top-two vote-getters during the primary to the election, voters may find themselves deciding between two candidates belonging to the same party in the fall.
“People need to remember that the primary can be a little more important than when you go to the polls in November and only see two people there for a race and it’s not your party,” Northrup said. “I do get a lot of calls or letters wanting to know why their party isn’t on the ballot in November.”