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California Primary Election Live! [Update]

by Jane Susskind, published

Update: Voter Turnout in L.A. County increases, finds preliminary sample 7:05pm 

"If predictions of a historic low in California's voter turnout comes true today, then L.A. County might be bucking the trend."



Update: Republican Bill Berryhill Makes Over 10,000 Calls in Final Push


Bill Berryhill, a Republican candidate running to represent State Senate District 5, has been hard at work with his campaign team.

According to his campaign: We have made 10,000 calls to voters from our Stockton HQ every day since Friday.

Those calls will come in handy as this is the race to watch for independents and partisan voters alike. The race for SD 5 is arguably one of the most important CA legislative contests this year, as it is a top target for both Democrats and Republicans in the state. The outcome of this race will be a key factor in whether or not Senate Democrats reach the 2/3 majority needed to raise taxes without Republican consent in CA's upper house.

The difference in voter registration numbers between the two major parties is very slim. Over 16 % of those registered to vote in the district have self identified as "No Party Preference" or other- so they'll be playing a critical role in tonight's results.

Here's a look at a previous opinion editorial and Q&A from Berryhill:


Update: Polls Close in Wisconsin


National attention is on Wisconsin tonight as they vote on Gov. Scott Walker's recall. The polls officially closed at 9pm.

Major news networks are saying it is too close to call, with exit polls showing a dead heat.

For California voters, there is a little over one hour left to get to the polls.


Update: Pleas from Twitter, Encouraging Californians to Get out the Vote


Facing one of the lowest voter turnouts for a presidential primary in California, voters are taking to Twitter to spread the word about voting.

With about two and a half hours until polls close in California, here's what Californians are tweeting, with hopes of reaching a broader demographic.

Just dropped off my ballot. Confirmed: Pundits' prediction of overwhelmingly old voters. Lotta white hair on display. #caprimary — Juliet Williams (@JWilliamsAP) June 4, 2012
Todavía queda tiempo para votar hoy. Urnas cierran a las8 p.m. #Republicano #Demócrata #Independiente #California #CAPrimary #Latinos — Mario E. Meléndez (@MarioEMelendez) June 6, 2012


Still time left to #Vote today. Polls close at 8 p.m. #California #CAPrimary #Republican #Dems #Ind #Latinos — Mario E. Meléndez (@MarioEMelendez) June 6, 2012
If you haven't voted yet go out and vote! (only if you have researched of course) every vote counts! #RockTheVote — Britney Laird(@britlaird) June 5, 2012
Just a reminder- if you're hanging on to an absentee ballot DO NOT MAIL IT TODAY. Turn it in at a polling place tomorrow. #sdvote — Amy Thoma (@amyjane12) June 4, 2012
I voted 10 hours ago. Y'all better get moving and #vote #sacramento if you wanna catch up. — Michael Minnick (@SacraMINNICK) June 6, 2012


Update: California's Open Primary Running Smoothly 


Looks like California's first go at our new top two open primary system is going smoothly. None of the confusion or glitches open primary foes once alleged has yet to occur. Yes, it seems voters are well informed and carrying on like years past.

Check out this article from the Sacramento Bee with more information and commentary from CA's Secretary of State: No glitches for California's new 'Top Two' system of voting



Update: Party partisanship increases as party membership shrinks


"The percentage of Americans who call themselves independents has hit a 75-year high, and Democrats and Republicans have moved further apart." -- Pew Research Center

This is a national poll but certainly applies to California and the primaries. The hyper-partisan are remaining in the two parties even as membership shrinks and disaffected members re-register as independents.


Update: Dan Walters says California's primary election stakes are minimal


Walters sees open primaries as untested as to whether they will decrease polarization. But rather than the stakes being minimal, open primaries actually make the primary more important because only two candidates will meet in the general, not several. So much of the real competition is now shifting to the primary.


Update: Intra-Party Battles to Hurt California Democrats?


Do you think the sheer cost of running a campaign in today's open primary system is going to hurt Democrats?

Apparently, Democratic insiders aren't all together excited that several intra-party fights won't see a resolve at the end of tonight, and they are expecting the ongoing contests to suck up millions of dollars from party funds. As many have predicted, there will be up to six tough and costly congressional races between Democratic candidates that are carrying over to November. This is not seen as a plus for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is desperately looking to pickup seats in California as part of its larger effort to regain the house from Republicans.

Here's an article from the National Journal that provides race specific details: California's Family Feuds

Because of California's new election rules, the top two vote getters from tonight's primary (regardless of party) will advance to the general runoff. In a true blue state like California that equates to plenty of intra-party squabbling, and not just at the congressional level- as similar situations are likely to occur in several races at the state level also. Republicans won't be affected in quite the same way, because quite frankly there just aren't that many in California.



Update: The California Primary In Pictures 

Want to see what voters around California are doing on Election Day?

Well, now you can, because we created a Pinterest Board for that!

Browse through some election day photos from voters around the state of California and send us yours to be included on our board!

So far, we've come across some great photos from users on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Poll workers, voters, and candidates have been taking advantage of all social media channels in a last-minute effort to get out the vote.

Have you seen any creative ways candidates and voters have been using social media this election?



Update: Chad Condit at Campaign Headquarters


The Chad Condit campaign posted this photo to their Facebook page earlier today:


Update: Rolling Stone Totally Misses The Point About an Open Primary


Using California's Senate race as an example, Rolling Stone has a blog post declaring, "California's Push for More Moderate Candidates Totally Backfires", yet admittedly cites "the extremely limited polling on the race" and contends a likely second place finish for Orly Taitz, of birther fame.

Only link to said "polling" is to a dated Ballot Access blog post edited by vocal Prop 14 opponent, Richard Winger.

No mention of any other races accompany the blog post. Polls do not close for another 5 hours.

The author does at least, throw in a key point, albeit deep within a poorly researched post:

"Also a possibility: that the Republicans don't get a candidate in there at all."
As an electoral reform designed to enfranchise the masses, not just hyper-partisan party-line voters and candidates, where is California's Open Primary backfiring?
It's too early to call results but while you wait, learn more about independent voters and independent candidates.

Update: No on Prop 28 Largely Funded Out-of-State

Opponents of the ballot initiative concerning term limits, No on Prop 28, were heavily outspent by Yes on Prop 28, according to

What is even more interesting?

Nearly all funding for No on Prop 28 came from outside California.

Check out the graph and visit MapLight's Prop 28 Funding page for more information:


Update: Possible reason for low voter turnout in California


In the previous update below my colleague, Lucy Ma, wonders why voter turnout is so low in such a groundbreaking year for California elections. HuffPo's got this possible explanation:

'A key reason for voters' lack of enthusiasm is the irrelevance of the top-ticket race: The Democratic presidential primary is not contested, and Mitt Romney decisively clinched the GOP nomination when he won last week in Texas. Voter disinterest is also driven by the lateness of the California primary, which was pushed back this year from its previous date in March, and the absence of hotly competitive Senate races or controversial ballot propositions.'

Come on voters. Local and state politics are just as important as national politics. The only difference is there's less money in local and state elections, fewer geographically and economically disparate interests, and fewer voters-- which all means your vote and your voice matter more and your activism and electoral engagement has a bigger impact!

...on that ballot proposition note, I wonder if any exit pollers are asking voters whether or not they smoke cigarettes.

(Wes Messamore)


Update: Voter Turnout Continues to be Slow


I'm starting to think Field Poll's voter turnout projections are even a bit high at 35%. When I showed up at my polling place in downtown Sacramento this morning, around 9 am, it certainly looked like we were well on our way to setting a record new low for voter turnout. What gives? Today marks the first time Independent voters, and partisan voters alike got to cast a vote on the same ballot. Shouldn't equal ballot access and a crucial presidential election year be enough to push folks to the polls?

We are looking at a record setting number of voters that have opted for absentee ballots instead this year- my fingers are crossed that that's the cause for the less than stellar turnout at the polls this morning.

In other north state news:

Republicans are making the final push to get out the vote for Assewmblywoman Beth Gaines who is running in Assembly District 6, she picked up a challenger from the right earlier this year (the far right), Andy Pugno. Yes, Andy Pugno as in the author and former lead defender of Proposition 8. Ironically, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from Prop 8 backers for a rehearing earlier this morning. I wonder if it'll have any affect on his race.

Pounding the pavement with @SDLockhart and @ErinMGuerrero to help re-elect a great champion for taxpayers, @BethGaines_ — Tim Anaya (@TimAnaya) June 5, 2012



Update: The effect of redistricting on California's 2012 Primary


The top two open primary isn't the only big change in California's 2012 electoral landscape, as CNBC notes, there's also some very heavily redrawn districts in the Golden State this year:

'The changes could set the stage for head-to-head face-offs between longtime incumbents, potentially from the same party, in November after a decade of remarkable stability in the state's majority Democratic delegation in the House of Representatives. That stability was a result of the deliberate creation of electoral districts to favor incumbents, a process known as gerrymandering. In 263 elections from 2002 to 2010, only one congressional seat changed political party. "California was totally locked in on this gerrymandered map," said Kyle Kondik, political analyst at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. This time the state put a non-partisan citizens commission in charge of most of the redrawing of congressional districts. The number of districts did not change, but the boundaries were adjusted to reflect population shifts since the previous national census in 2000.'

The article also notes some significant demographic changes as a result:

'Redistricting has created a "huge leap" in the number of districts with more than 50 percent minority voters, Mitchell said. Majority-Hispanic legislative districts have increased from 19 to 29, and California now has the only majority-Asian district in the continental United States.'

-Wes Messamore


Update: Chad Condit's Statement on His Campaign


Chad Condit, independent candidate in California Congressional District 10, speaks out about his campaign on election day:

"I'm feeling good. We ran a great campaign and I have great people helping me. The best thing about our campaign is our message is right. It resonates with the people in the district. A Congressman should be a congressman that represents the people, not the parties, and the people of the Central Valley recognize that. I feel good, the message is right, and we'll see how the day goes. The people of the Central Valley are in control, so we will let them decide, but we're working hard to get out the vote today."  -Chad Condit



Update: AD-50 Partisan Match-up Between Democrat Betsy Butler and Democrat Torie Osborn


One of the top races to keep an eye on today is in Assembly District 50. After a lively Democratic State Convention, Betsy Butler won the endorsement of California's Democratic Party. Torie Osborn effectively ran as an independent Democrat, shaping her campaign narrative to fit this political outsider persona.

A recent editorial over at Calitics questions the strategy of pouring money into races when others may be more essential to win a two-thirds majority in Sacramento.




Update: Tweeps Rock The Vote


Independent Voter Network is using the #IndyVote hashtag, but there is a whole slew of others you can use to track the election, including #CAVote, #CAPolitics, #CAPrimary and the obvious #Vote. @CalChannel is promoting #CACitizenAtWork for pictures of those participating in California's primary.

Here's a peek at what's coming through on Twitter:


Regardless of your party or take on the issues, get out and vote people! #CAPrimary #cavote #capolitics — Austin J Webster (@AustinJWebster) June 5, 2012


Friendly, happy pollworkers at my Crocker Middle School polling place. I was voter #142.… — Kim Alexander (@kimalex3) June 5, 2012


Just got to vote for president Obama. #caprimary — Steve Weinstein (@steveweinstein) June 5, 2012


My CA Primary 2012 picks #catcot #capolitics #ocgop #tcot #CASen — Rogelio H. (@catholiclawyer) June 5, 2012



Update: Voters React to New Top-Two Primary System

11:30 am

Despite changes to the appearance of the ballot in today's open primary, today's Field Poll reveals that voters are comfortable with the changes they will find on the ballot. The Sacramento Bee reports on the findings:

The poll found 74 percent of voters do not think the change will confuse them, while 21 percent said it will. Of those who said they expect the format to be confusing, just 5 percent believe they will be very confused.

Have you voted yet? Share with us what your thoughts on California's new top-two system by leaving a comment below.



Update: Predictions on Voter Turnout


Numbers from a Field Poll released today indicate that voter turnout could set a record low for a presidential primary in California, with a predicted 35% of registered voters participating. According to the Sacramento Bee, the previous record for low voter turnout was 41.9% in 1996. Similarly, the presidential candidates during the 1996 election (Bill Clinton and Bob Dole) had likely secured the nomination, decreasing voter interest in the presidential primary. (Jane)




Update: Voting Information


Polls are open today from 7am to 8pm.

Nonpartisan, or "No Party Preference" voters will have three nonpartisan ballots to choose from. The American Independent Nonpartisan Ballot, the Nonpartisan Democratic Ballot, and the Nonpartisan ballot. The Nonpartisan ballot does not include a vote for presidential office.

Find out where to vote from the Secretary of State's Office. They have a comprehensive list of polling locations.

Still undecided on Proposition 28 or Proposition 29? Learn more at our Election Center.


Update: Live Blog Kickoff

10:30 am

Today is the day! Californians are heading to the polls today for the first-ever open primary election. The Independent Voter Network team is spread across the state to bring you the latest news as it rolls in. We'll be gathering information throughout the day on various races and campaigns, as well as tracking results when polls close at 8pm.

Follow @IVNetwork on Twitter, use hashtag #indyvote.

Send us your Election Day stories & photos! Last minute stumping for candidates? Let us know.




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