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Voter turnout strong, registration reaches record levels

Interest in voting in Tuesday’s election hit historic levels in at least two Bay Area counties and statewide, according to officials in San Francisco, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties and Sacramento.

Elections officials in Contra Costa and San Mateo counties over the past two days confirmed that the number of registered voters in their jurisdictions reached historic levels.

In Contra Costa County, a record 620,400 voters have registered, according to election officials.

In addition, Contra Costa County turnout may hit a record.

Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa County clerk-recorder-registrar, said in a statement:

“We are excited with the initial turnout. … If we continue at this pace we should set a new record countywide.”

Jim Irizarry, San Mateo County’s assistant chief elections officer & assessor-county clerk-recorder, said for the first time more than 400,000 eligible voters registered.

About 401,000 of the 503,000 eligible voters have registered, Irizarry said.

Statewide 19.6 million Californians had registered as of the deadline, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office.

That’s up by nearly 1.9 million voters compared with the numbers for the 2014 gubernatorial election.

Padilla said on Friday:

“It is nearly unprecedented for California to set a voter registration record in a midterm election.”

The percentage of registered voters in the state is now 78 percent, the highest since 1950, according to Padilla.

In Marin County, turnout is expected to be higher than the last mid-term election when 60 percent of voters turned out.

Marin County registrar Lynda Roberts said:

“I expect the turnout to rival the 2010 midterm election, which was 76 percent.”

According to students with the Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit that aims to effect liberal political change, turnout among young voters is up over the 2014 election. Turnout may be double the 2014 turnout, according to the group.

In San Francisco, 500,566 eligible voters had registered as of Monday, which is not a record, according to campaign service manager Gregory Slocum.

Nahia, a voter helper, left, explains the voting process for a voter at City Hall Voting Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Ching Wong/SFBay

But Slocum said registration has been up and anecdotally it’s been a busy election day.

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