Sunday, October 21 , 2018, 3:38 pm | Fair 71º


It’s Official: Election Results Are Certified; Turnout Highest in Decades

Santa Barbara County's registrar says mail-in ballots may have propelled the surge in votes.

Joe Holland, the county registrar of voters, on Monday certified the results of the Nov. 4 election, saying the turnout — at 86.36 percent — was the highest the county had seen in decades. Among those who can now breathe a sigh of relief are the leaders in the close races, including Doreen Farr for 3rd District Supervisor, Ed Heron for Santa Barbara School District Board and Kathleen Reddington for Carpinteria City Council.

“We have not seen this level of voter participation since the 1960s,” Holland said. “In the presidential elections of 1956 through 1964, we actually saw turnout as high as 89 percent; however; we were a much smaller county at that time with total registration of only 55,000 in 1956 and 100,000 in 1964.”

Today, the number of registered voters in Santa Barbara County has more than doubled to higher than 200,000.

“It is very encouraging to see a steady increase in voter turnout in every presidential general election in the county since we hit an all-time low of 64 percent in 1996,” Holland said.

He attributes the high turnout in the county to the historic nature of the election, as well as the number of vote-by-mail ballots used this time around. More than half of the total 176,562 votes cast were vote-by-mail cards.

“Providing alternative methods of voting, such as through the mail, makes it easier and more convenient for people to vote,” Holland said, “and I think this is definitely leading to higher voter participation.”

Click here to view Santa Barbara County’s certified election results.

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