Turnout for the June 3 primary election is expected to again be low – possibly very low – and per usual in San Diego, that’s great news for Republicans.

Lower turnout has in recent history always favored more conservative candidates. Republican candidates and causes have swept six of the last eight citywide elections when there has been relatively low voter turnout.

And there is little reason to believe the trend will end this time around.

Registrar Michael Vu currently predicts between 38 percent and 43 percent of San Diego County’s registered voters will cast their ballots in the gubernatorial primary. Still, he said “interest seems low for this election” and turnout “could run lower.”

“Forty percent would be on the high side,” Vu said.

In San Diego County, it’s not the day-of turnout at the polls that is the only issue. The county sent some 850,000 mail-in ballots to residents and Vu said those returned could easily make up the majority of all votes cast.

But only about 113,000 ballots had been returned by Friday, Vu said. He said his office has started seeing a bump in the number it receives per day and he urged other voters to send their ballots in as soon as possible.

Mail-in ballots will be the first results issued on election night, Vu said.

San Diego County voters, along with those across the state according to Vu, have been increasingly moving towards vote-by-mail ballots.

In the 2006 gubernatorial primary, 54.5 percent of voters cast their ballots at the polls while vote-by-mail was 45.5 percent. In the 2010 gubernatorial primary it shifted to 35 percent at the polls and 65 percent vote-by-mail and there were similar percentages in the 2012 presidential primary election. Vu expects that trend to continue.

There are about 1.5 million registered voters in the county. For voter information, click here. To check your registration status, click on this link. If you’re one of the registered, click on this link to find your polling location. If you have not yet registered to vote, you’re out of luck. And if you’re voting by mail, maybe it’s time to actually send that ballot in.

Ari Bloomekatz is an investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego, focusing on county government. You can reach him directly at ari.bloomekatz@voiceofsandiego.org...

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