Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his wife Katherine voting Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church. Courtesy Faulconer's campaign
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his wife Katherine voting Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church. Courtesy Faulconer campaign

Around half of the registered voters in San Diego County will cast a ballot in Tuesday’s primary election, according to an analysis by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

The study by Vince Vasquez of the institute projects countywide turnout at around 50-53 percent, a relatively high figure fueled by interest in the presidential primary race — particularly on the Democratic side, where Bernie Sanders is still challenging front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Around 43 percent of the absentee ballots turned in early were Democratic, according to Vasquez. Since early mail ballot returns in the San Diego region usually lean Republican, this indicates a high Democratic turnout, he said.

City Councilman Scott Sherman votes Tuesday morning at Palisades Presbyterian Church in Allied Gardens. Courtesy Sherman campaign

“Early ballot returns reveal San Diego is in the midst of a high-turnout blue primary, which may impact down-ballot local races,” Vasquez said.

“Local voter interest and participation have been buoyed by the numerous public presidential campaign events held here in recent weeks, as well as the tightening race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton,” he said.

“As we approach Election Day, it will be critical for local campaigns to devote significant resources to get-out-the-vote efforts to turn out voters and secure votes in a cycle dominated by presidential politics.”

He said he anticipates around 260,000 voters to turn out to the more than 1,500 polls Tuesday around the county, with the Democratic edge growing.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said more than 970,000 absentee ballots were mailed out to voters, and about 30 percent have been returned. He estimated that by the time all the counting is done, 55-60 percent of the electorate will have voted.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.