By Chris Jennewein
President Donald Trump will be the proverbial elephant in the room when Californians go the polls on Tuesday to elect candidates for governor, Congress and numerous local races.
Many Californians have expressed shock and anger at the polices of one of America’s most polarizing Presidents. But sadly, too few may cast their votes to actually make a difference.
Elections in the Golden State are decided by a minority of voters. Respected San Diego pollster John Niensted said Friday he expects less than 30 percent of registered voters to cast ballots on Tuesday.
“We’re not seeing that Democratic wave materializing, at least in this election,” Nienstedt said. “I think that’s dissipated.”
Low turnouts tend to favor Republicans because they are generally older and wealthier, with the time and flexibility to vote. Younger voters with jobs and families have a harder time. Still, that’s no excuse to forfeit your most important right in a democracy.
The fact is, most candidates are elected by a minority of registered voters. There are nearly three registered Democrats and independents for every Republican in California, but Republicans are much more likely to vote, and therefore often determine the winner.
This is especially true in California’s “top two” primary system, where determined a minority of dependable voters may decide who will be on the general election ballot in November. Instead of a “blue wave,” Californians may end up choosing between two Republicans in some races..
When voters don’t turn out, the results are not always what people expect. Donald Trump’s victory is a case in point. So was Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. In both cases, liberal, younger voters stayed home while their conservative, older parents and grandparents reliably turned out to vote.
Voting is actually easy. California law requires your employer to give you time off for this.
Confused about the candidates and issues? Check out Times of San Diego’s voter guide.
Don’t know where to vote? You can find your polling place online.
Can’t get to your polling place? Vote at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office, 5600 Overland Avenue in Kearny Mesa.
Whether you support Trump or despise him, make sure your message is heard by voting.
Chris Jennewein is editor and publisher of Times of San diego.
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