Local Primary Voters Outlook: High Interest, Low Opinions

The number of ballots cast in San Diego County Tuesday is expected to far exceed local turnout in the state’s 2012 Presidential primary.

“I'm going to say about 55 to 60 percent,” County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu told NBC 7 in an interview Monday.

California’s primary election may not have turned out to be “all important” in the national scheme of things. 

But it still appears to be generating considerable interest, in terms of both news media coverage and voter registration. 

There’s been a surge of new voters signing up.

“The last time there was a Presidential primary election with an open seat (2008), there was a 61 percent turnout," Vu said. "In 2012 when there wasn't an open seat, we saw a 37 percent turnout."

The countywide numbers show early ballots cast by Democrats outrunning those of Republicans by nearly three percentage points. 

In the last week of registration, the number of Democratic voters increased by nearly five percent, versus 1.5 percent for Republicans.

Independents, meanwhile, are voting well below their original registration totals -- in large part, it's believed, because many have re-registered to qualify for the otherwise "closed" Republican primary. 

While the metrics indicate high interest and participation, interviews with voters leaving the Registrar's office indicate something less than enthusiasm. 

“I'm actually pretty scared for the future,” said Evrin Peavy, a Clark Atlanta University graduate student spending the summer in San Diego’s Webster district. “It could go really good or really bad, so we'll see what happens. I'm not pumped for it. I hope I made the right decision." 

"We know exactly what we're going to get with Hillary Clinton,” said Encinitas resident Craig Senes. “We have no idea what we're going to get with Donald Trump. And with a lot of people, that's preferable. A complete unknown." 

Other voters seemed to think that what's been happening at “the top of the ticket" among both major parties is kind of a turn-off. 

"It feels like there's such polar opposites, and people are not backing down,” said University City resident Eve Selis. “They don't want to listen to each other. It's very hard-line -- you're either this, or you're that. And it's kind of scary. It feels very angry to me." 

Anger is what gripped the country during the 1968 Presidential campaign, with blood in the streets and tear gas in the air. 

Has this election cycle not seen enough violence already?" 

"We need to look at ways -- some people say -- to bridge the gaps, not try to create more,” suggested Poway resident Bob Shuttleworth. “I'm just worried about what our political system's going to be if this kind of thing keeps up … I hope it doesn't. I hope we have a better look down the road." 

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