Elections officials have nearly completed their tallies of the votes cast in the General Election, and the numbers show a notable drop-off in voter turnout from the previous presidential election.

Voter-participation statistics from San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties mirror numbers for California as a whole.

Turnout rates in presidential election years since the 2000 contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore trended upward until 2008, when Barack Obama defeated John McCain and became the United States' first black president.

This year's numbers, however, tell a different story.

In California, nearly 69 percent of registered voters participated in the General Election. That rate signifies a statewide participation decline of roughly 10 points.

Los Angeles County's turnout fell from 82 percent in 2008 to about 67 percent this year.

San Bernardino County's participation rate fell five percentage points to roughly 69 percent of registered voters in November.

"I think our turnout was consistent with what we saw throughout the state. That it was lower than 2008, but consistent with historic turnout," San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters Michael Scarpello said.

In San Bernardino County, the split between voters who cast mail-in ballots and those who voted at a polling place was nearly 50-50.

Roughly 48 percent of the county's voters chose mail ballots, but Scarpello said many voters don't like to put a stamp on their ballot and entrust their vote to the Postal Service.

Instead, many voters preferred to hand their ballots in at one of the county's 55 drop-off locations. Scarpello said he is considering adding more drop-off and early-voting locations in the future.

"I don't see my role as driving turnout, but I do see my role as making it simple for people to vote, if they so choose," he said.

Gloria Anderson, the president of the League of Women Voters of San Bernardino, said she did not see a noticeable decline in voter enthusiasm before the Nov. 6 election.

Anderson said her biggest concern from this election cycle was not turnout but the onslaught of political advertisements produced by super PACs.

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates as long as they do not coordinate with office seekers. The groups often produce negative ads.


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