High Placer Co. voter turnout expected

By: Gus Thomson
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It’s the Barack Obama and John McCain show around the nation today but it’s also the culmination of a bitterly fought congressional race for the District 4 seat between Tom McClintock and Charlie Brown. And on a local level, Election Day today means Placer County’s easterly residents will be deciding between incumbent District 5 Supervisor Bruce Kranz and Jennifer Montgomery. Add controversial ballot measures like Proposition 8 on gay marriage in California and Placer County could see a near record turnout. Elections chief Jim McCauley, the county’s registrar of voters, said he’s expecting a turnout of 81 percent to 83 percent by the time all votes are counted – just short of a record. McCauley said there’s still a chance that the turnout – which normally exceeds the state average by about 8 percent – will match or beat the 84 percent turnout achieved in the 2000 election. The county now has just fewer than 200,000 registered voters and thanks to the explosion of the demand for absentee ballots, the elections division had already received and processed 82,000 ballots by late Monday. At the Republican office in Auburn, volunteer Paula Celick, president of Auburn Area Republican Women Federated, said that the final full day of campaigning Monday was keeping volunteers busy supporting both the presidential ticket and local candidates. All the McCain-Palin signs had been handed out but there were still plenty of bumper stickers, she said. Many of the signs being handed out – including almost all for Yes on 8 – were replacements for those that had been vandalized or stolen, she said. The Democratic Party headquarters less than a quarter mile away in Downtown Auburn was also a beehive of activity as party faithful manned phones and fielded questions from drop-in visitors. Brown visited volunteers in Grass Valley, Truckee and Kings Beach before returning to Roseville. Brown was also slated to greet volunteers Monday working to Get out the Vote efforts in Nevada County and the Lake Tahoe area. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at