Big voter turnout could set record

The Associated Press
Thursday November 09, 2000


LOS ANGELES – Turnout for Tuesday’s election was strong and could approach a record, state officials said Wednesday. 

As of Wednesday, 9.8 million ballots had been counted, said Secretary of State Bill Jones. He estimated 1.5 million ballots remained to be counted. 

The record for California was set in 1992, when Bill Clinton defeated both Republican incumbent George Bush and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot.  

In that election, about 75 percent of all registered voters — 11.4 million people — voted. 

In 1996, another presidential election year, 10.3 million votes were cast. 

Before the Tuesday’s election, Jones estimated that 76 percent the state’s 15.6 million registered voters would cast ballots. 

A record 3.2 million voters requested absentee ballots this year. Those votes can take days to count. 

Jones, a Republican, attributed the high turnout to tight races for initiatives and legislative races, plus Bush’s expensive California campaign. 

One analyst suggested voter turnout could have been boosted by early evening news reports on the historically tight presidential race, which still remained too close to call Wednesday. 

“The story last night was that the outcome in California, Nevada and Hawaii will affect the outcome of the presidential race and that’s just not a story we usually hear,” said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, a nonpartisan voter information group.