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Sonoma County election turnout called 'dismal'

  • Election clerk Martha Apel, 89, has been doing her civic duty on election day since 1944. This year she volunteered at Elsie Allen High School on Tuesday morning.

In an election with few hot-button issues, voter turnout in Sonoma County was "dismal," the elections chief said late Tuesday.

About a quarter of the county's 248,216 registered voters returned their ballots before Election Day, a total of 65,082.

As votes from the county's 374 precincts began to arrive at the elections office late Tuesday, Sonoma County Registrar Janice Atkinson said it appeared turnout would be among the lowest in years.

Election 2012 Sonoma County

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"They're just dribbling in," she said, standing by her earlier forecast that 50-53 percent of the county's registered voters would turn in their ballots.

The most walk-in voters at any precinct was 148, she said. Some precincts have more than 2,000 registered voters.

Three contested supervisorial races, two congressional seats and four state legislative contests were on the ballot, along with just two statewide ballot measures.

An estimated 25,000 to 35,000 vote-by-mail ballots were expected to arrive in the mail on Tuesday or be turned in at polling places. They will not be immediately counted.

Elections officials have 28 days to certify the final count.


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