Updated at 2:30 p.m. with new voter turnout numbers. Updated again at 8 p.m. with more voter turnout information.
Despite some “eerily quiet” polling places early Tuesday morning, one polling clerk said he expects a “phenomenal” turnout in today’s special election.
At the Volkswagen dealership—one of the polling locations for the precinct that encompasses those residents who live near where the disputed development would occur if Measure B is upheld—more than 100 voters had already cast ballots by 11 a.m.
Polling clerk Stephen Moser said he could see as many as 800 people by the time polls close at 8 p.m. The total number of voters in his precinct, No. 49612—bounded by San Juan Creek Road and Camino Capistrano—is 1,565.
Also in that precinct, approximately 800 vote-by-mail ballots had been issued, about half of which were already returned by Saturday, he said. The Orange County registrar of voters tweeted shortly after 2 p.m. that it has so far scanned a total of 4,259 vote-by-mail ballots.
“I’'ve worked various elections in Orange County and Los Angeles … and I’ve never seen a turnout like this,” Moser said. “The only thing I can think of is that people are perceiving it as a quality-of-life issue.”
As of 11 a.m. the polling place turnout for all of San Juan was 1.19 percent of the the 19,805 registered voters. At the same time in San Clemente on March 8, when voters there took up Measure A, the turnout was 2.75 percent.
By 1 p.m. the turnout in San Juan grew to 1.76 percent, and by 8 p.m., it was 5.06 percent.
“In San Clemente, they didn’t have a very good turnout there, and now here for this special election [in San Juan] it’s even less,” said volunteer Steve Bosheff, a Dana Point resident who also volunteered to work the polls March 8 in San Clemente. “But down at the Volkswagen dealership, they’re in the affected area they’ll have a lot more participation.”
Moser was working Tuesday from the polling place at the Capistrano Unified School District headquarters, also serving Precinct No. 49612. He said he had seen five voters before 11 a.m.
Polls close at 8 p.m. Most voters turn out between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.