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SCV voters turned out in lows for council election

Total number, percentages of 2014 election lower than 2012 and 2010, despite more people registered

Posted: April 13, 2014 9:30 p.m.
Updated: April 13, 2014 9:30 p.m.

The intrigue of an open seat and a guaranteed new council member apparently didn’t translate to increased voter interest, as voter participation in Tuesday’s Santa Clarita City Council election was lower than the last election in 2012, according to numbers released by the city this week.

As of Thursday, there were 14,870 ballots cast in this year’s election, according to city officials.

That number is lower than both 2012, when 15,390 ballots were cast, and 2010, when 14,947 were cast, according to city spokeswoman Jessica Jackson.

An additional wrinkle in this year’s number, though, is the fact that the city’s pool of eligible voters has grown drastically since the last council election.

In 2012 — an election that saw a sitting mayor defeated — there were 90,714 active, registered voters in the city.

But in 2014, that number ballooned to 114,397, largely as a result of the city adding new residents through annexation.

A lower number of ballots cast, along with a larger voter pool, means around 13 percent of active, registered voters cast ballots in this year’s election — roughly four full percentage points lower than 2012.

The rate in 2010 was around 16.8 percent, slightly lower than in 2012.

The 2014 number is not yet finalized, as the city still has close to 1,000 ballots left to be reviewed and possibly counted next week.

But even if all 679 remaining vote-by-mail ballots and 286 provisional ballots are added to the tally, that still means only 13.8 percent of active, registered votes cast ballots in 2014, still more than 3 percentage points lower than in 2012.  

This year could be the last that the city holds its elections in April, as Santa Clarita City Council members voted in March to change the dates of the city’s elections to November of even-numbered years and petition Los Angeles County to consolidate its election with those run by the county.

That election date shift is part of a negotiated settlement for a lawsuit that alleged the city’s current election system violated the California Voting Rights Act by preventing Latino voters from electing candidates of their choice.

Another part of that settlement agreement is for the city to pursue cumulative voting, a system where voters could cast as many votes as there are seats up for election, including multiple votes for the same candidate.


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