Voter registration — and participation — skyrockets in San Mateo County

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San Mateo County voter registration has surged in advance of today’s gubernatorial general election and has reached record levels, elections officials reported yesterday.

The San Mateo County Elections Division reported that 400,000 voters have registered out of about 503,000 eligible voters, nearly 80 percent of those who could cast a ballot.

It’s a first in county elections history.

“We got close to that with the Obama election and close with the Trump election, but we never got over 400,000,” said the county’s Chief Elections Officer Jim Irizarry.

Not only is voter registration up — so is voter participation. As of 5 p.m. Monday, the Elections Office received 141,324 mailed ballots. Another 5,571 ballots were case on voting machines. That far eclipses the total 97,447 ballots cast for the 2014 gubernatorial ballot. In 2010, turnout was 226,359 out of 346,516 registered voters, or 65.32 percent — which at the time marked the highest non-presidential turnout.

There are plenty of ballots left to receive.

“If history is any indicator of what’s happening [today], we are going to receive thousands upon thousands of ballots [today] and through Friday,” Irizarry sad. “People have till midnight tomorrow night to have the ballot post marked and put in mail or dropped off at ballot drop off at voting locations. You will see a big rush of ballots coming in [today].”

He added, “The amounts of ballots coming in, the number of people showing up at the vote centers today, it’s pretty remarkable.”

What’s happening in San Mateo County is happening nationwide. As Politico noted:

“A staggering 36 million voters cast their ballots ahead of Election Day this year, setting the stage for much-higher-than-usual turnout for a midterm — and, potentially, big surprises on Tuesday night. Republican enthusiasm for President Donald Trump and Democrats’ itch to repudiate him at the ballot box have driven people to the polls far faster than in 2014, when 27.2 million people voted early, according to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who tracks voter turnout.”