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Super Turnout, Mixed Results

Posted: February 7, 2008 2:07 a.m.
Updated: April 9, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Voters are recovering from their Super Tuesday hangover after a steady dose of sound bytes and voting total updates.

The hangover was well justified, as a record number of Americans participated in elections and caucuses in 24 states for Tuesday's primary election. About half of the states participating in Super Tuesday posted record voter turnouts, including Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey and Utah.
California led in total voter turnout, with 7,134,751 votes cast on Tuesday. California's record for voter turnout in a presidential primary was 7.9 million votes cast in 2000.
Latino turnout in California also set a record, jumping 13 percentage points, according to election reports. The Latino vote made up 29 percent of the electorate, up 81 percent from the 2004 primary election.
There was no shortage of youth voters, either. According to preliminary estimates by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement in Washington, D.C., about 17 percent of voters under the age of 30 participated in Tuesday's primary. That is up from 13 percent (574,807 voters) in the 2000 primary. More than 221,000 young people participated in the Republican primary and 631,000 in the Democratic primary.
In Los Angeles County, the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office reports a 46.07 percent turnout, with 1,820,758 election day and 287,038 absentee ballots casts.
While voter turnout reached astronomic levels, a few local groups were disappointed with the non-passage of a state proposition and a local measure.
Officials at College of the Canyons were not thrilled with voters' rejection of Proposition 92, which advocated minimum funding levels for high school and community colleges. According to the Secretary of State's office, about 54 percent of Californians voted against the measure.
"It is a real disappointment that Proposition 92 did not pass," said COC spokeswoman Sue Bozman. "The impact of this loss on College of the Canyons could be very large in the future because with no minimum funding guarantee and with future decreases in enrollments in K-12, the total funding for both segments will be reduced even though community college enrollments will increase.
"That will hurt because College of the Canyons will continue to experience very significant growth but without state funds to support that growth."
Further up in the Santa Clarita Valley, one local measure received a majority vote yet did not pass. Measure V fell short of the 55 percent "yes" vote required for passage. The $46-million bond measure in the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District proposed to build a permanent structure at Vasquez High School in Acton. It only received 51 percent (1,976 votes).
"I think this measure has created some animosities," said Max Duran, an Acton resident who opposed the measure. "We need to focus on education. As long as we have an open door where teachers are coming in and going out like a turnstile, the children will suffer.
"Teachers have to know they are treated and respected as human beings. The facilities are not what's driving teachers away. It's the pay."
Proponents of the measure, however, are already going back to the drawing board to figure out alternative plans for a new school facility.
"There are still concerns about what we can do for the kids," said Marla Cremin, an Acton resident in favor of the measure. "We are still coming up with ideas to figure out how we can get it done without passing a bond. I still feel optimistic, though."
Despite local disappointment about the failures of Proposition 92 and Measure V, one local legislator welcomed the defeat of the term limits proposition.
Proposition 93, which proposed limiting term limits for state legislators from 14 years to 12 years while allowing the lawmakers to apply all 12 years to one house, was soundly defeated with slightly under 54 percent of voters rejecting the measure.
"With (Tuesday's) failure of Proposition 93, I am extremely optimistic that we can now focus on the 2008 legislative and special session," said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita. "This flawed measure had unfortunately dominated the legislature for the better part of the last year and held virtually everything at a standstill. Now that the people of California have spoken, we can move forward and focus on the real issues facing the state, starting with our $14 billion deficit and the crisis facing California's prison system."


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