Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Results: Low Turnout & Partial Victory for My Opinions

It's all inside the document above, ladies and gentlemen. Turnout was really low. Of the over 17.3 million registered voters in the state only 7.4 million cast ballots. That means only 42.9% [4 Nov. update: it's now 44.2%] of registered voters actually voted, and that's before you consider the voters who are eligible to vote but not registered to vote. If that turnout had been higher the results could have been completely transformed.

Democrats won the Governor's office and the Senate seat in California. Nationally, the Republicans took the House and the Democrats held on to the Senate, but by a slimmer margin.

And the initiatives?
No on legalizing marijuana (19) :/
Yes on giving the redistricting commission more power (20) :(
No on the vehicle fee for parks (21) :/
Yes on prohibiting the state from dipping into local funds (22) :(
No on suspending the global warming control law (23) :)
No on raising more revenue from businesses (24) :(
Yes on simple majority to pass budget (25) :)
Yes on 2/3 vote to raise fees (26) :( :( :( (this is going to hurt)
No on eliminating the redistricting commission (27) :/


  1. 42.9% of registered voters is actually a pretty good year in the midterms. You usually see about 30% of registered voters (which is an even smaller proportion of eligible voters).

  2. Hmm, I should clarify then that I mean low relative to my opinion of the percentage of people that should vote.

  3. Heh... even in Australia, where they have *mandatory* voting, they can only get about 80% of the people to vote. And even then, the degree to which voters are informed doesn't differ significantly from here- so basically, a whole bunch more people are voting who don't know or care about politics.

    If you want to torture yourself, read Anthony Downs' "An Economic Theory of Democracy" (like I'm doing this weekend!) and Samuel Popkin's "The Reasoning Voter" for some discussion of the debate on why people don't vote, don't know anything about politics and don't care- and what it says about democracy.

    You can probably find quick summaries of the works on WikiSum that'd do fine for anyone NOT taking a comprehensive exam in the field next year.

  4. I agree that more turnout without a more informed electorate is a hollow victory. I haven't read the books you mentioned, but I still hold out hope that when people are shown the importance of the issues at stake in politics, they can be motivated to do research and make more informed decisions.

    I'd also say that if voters are disgusted with the Democrat-Republican duopoly they should come out and vote for one of the many underdog party candidates. There are so many perspectives on the issues that are locked out of the media and locked out of the debates.