The abysmal turnout of California voters in the Nov. 4 elections was widely predicted. The final numbers won’t be available for a few more days, but the statewide vote appears to reflect a turnout of about 42 percent, a new record for lowest turnout in a California gubernatorial election.
But a deeper dive into the numbers finds a much lower percentage of votes — in some cases less than half of that statewide turnout – cast in several races for the California Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Let’s go back to that Los Angeles race for the state’s 39th Assembly District, where freshman incumbent Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) conceded defeat on Monday to fellow Democrat Patty Lopez, a local activist whose campaign was well under the political universe’s radar until the votes started to be tallied on Election Night.
“While the vote tally is incredibly close,” said a statement from Bocanegra on Monday evening, “it is clear that my opponent will be victorious by the narrowest of margins.”
The real killer, though, was overall turnout. The final tally by Los Angeles County elections officials shows only 45,033 votes were cast in the Bocanegra versus Lopez race. That’s only 22 percent of all registered voters in the San Fernando Valley district.
Even worse: Lopez will take the oath of office on Dec. 1 in Sacramento with the backing of just 22,750 voters — that’s slightly less than 5 percent of all the people who live in her Los Angeles County district (using census data compiled during the 2011 redrawing of political districts).