One of the favorite post-election kvetches — aside from your guy going down in bitter defeat to the sound of wailing bros coast-to-coast — is how shitty turnout is.
This started early on Election Night, the day after the Associated Press told everyone interested in voting in the Democratic primary that they'd be better off staying at home watching Veep, before all the ballots had been counted. But it was still premature. whatever numbers you saw yesterday missed almost one-quarter of the votes.
Today, San Francisco's Department of Elections reported that 263,000 ballots had been cast in last night's election — including 78,000 mail-in ballots cast at City Hall, plus provisional ballots, as well as the 185,000 counted as of last night.
So. Out of 468,238 registered voters, that's 56 percent turnout — which, as far as things go, is pretty good. Better than the turnout for the municipal election in the fall, but not nearly as good the last time California's presidential primary mattered, way back in 2008.
[jump] In February 2008, recall, former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton was running for president. She was the presumptive favorite. She had everything: the money, the name recognition, the affable spouse — but then lost to the upstart, the junior senator from Illinois named Barack Hussein Obama.
In the California primary that month, Hillary took the state, but Obama took San Francisco, where 64.75 percent of voters turned out — including 94 percent of the city's obviously very energized Democrats.
You'd think Democrats, being told time and again how much this election actually mattered for once, would turn out at least similarly. You would be wrong.
Initial reports revealed 125,000 out of the 272,000 registered Democrats in San Francisco turned out. That number will go up, but even assuming every uncounted ballot turns out to be from a registered Democrat — which they won't — only 70 percent of Democrats could reach for the ballot box, in an election they were told was vital (well, right up until they were told it wasn't.).
Similar, but related: Some people like to complain about how few adults voted in Tuesday's election. There's something here. There are about 750,000 people over the age of 18 in San Francisco, almost 300,000 of whom are not registered to vote. That's a small undemocratic city, but about 100,000 of those souls are not eligible to vote.
As it happens, there are 644,000 people eligible to vote in San Francisco, 468,238 of whom are registered, and 263,000 of whom voted — meaning, 59 percent of people who had the right, the choice, and the franchise didn't quite get around to it.
What is clear is this: We aren't what we were back in 2008.