I reached out to Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley yesterday to find out the voter turnout in Anaheim for Tuesday’s primary election. The news isn’t very heartening:
Anaheim has 123,485 registered voters – very few of whom cast ballots in this election:
In a disheartening manifestation of this low turnout, the first vote update from the ROV on Tuesday night increased the Anaheim vote count by only 14 votes.
Regardless of where one stood on Measure C, D and E, I think all would agree it is sad so few Anaheim voters exercised their voice on these proposed amendments to their city charter. In a Voice of OC article about the Measure D result, Mayor Tom Tait said “The people have spoken, and I think it shows that people are concerned about the effect of money and special interests on politics.”
You can certainly say some of the people have spoken – in this case, 14.8% of them. Also, I disagree with the mayor’s analysis – who the “special interests” are depends on which voters you talk to and their political leanings. However, one of the problems with such abysmal turnout is it undermines elections as indicators of what the voters want or don’t want, and their power to settle political issues. That isn’t spin directed at Tuesday’s results. It’s a lamentation over the corrosive effect low voter participation has on representative self-government.