LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Long lines were reported Tuesday across Los Angeles County – at both polling places and the county registrar’s office – as residents hoped to cast their votes in a high-interest mid-term election that could sway the balance of power in Washington.
Officials say voter turnout at the polls was unofficially around 8 percent as of late morning, based on a small sampling of activity at some precincts, according to Mike Sanchez, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office.
That would put it roughly on par with voter turnout for the November 2014 midterm election.
Orange County was also expected to see a historic turnout for Tuesday’s midterm election.
Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley predicted turnout might reach 68 percent, easily besting the 2010 midterm election that was a wave election for Republicans. In 2010, turnout was 55 percent.
Turnout in the 2014 midterm election was at 45 percent, according to county statistics. In 2010 it was 55 percent.
As of Monday night, 390,000 mail-in ballots had been turned in, Kelley said.
And early in-person turnout is “running about 130 percent ahead of the presidential election in 2016,” Kelley said.
“I’ve got a line out of the lobby tonight. It’s going to be a long night tomorrow,” Kelley said. “For a midterm I’ve never seen it like this. We’d have to go back a long way to be close to that.”
The breakdown by party is about 165,000 Republicans have turned in mail-in ballots and 128,000 Democrats have turned in absentee ballots, Kelley said. About 92,000 no party preference voters have turned in ballots.
Statewide, the California Secretary of State reported that a record 19.69 million Californians had registered to vote by the Oct. 22 deadline, which is 78.16 percent of all eligible California voters. The percentage is the highest in nearly 70 years, according to the SOS.
Orange County is drawing significant attention due to the close 48th District House race between 15-term Republican incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic challenger Harley Rouda, a real estate investor.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Mimi Walters is being targeted by Democrats in the 45th District, which covers Irvine, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo. Walters has represented the district since 2014, and while the district has become more Democratic, she easily won re-election in 2016, even as the district’s voters supported Clinton over Trump. She has continued to preach tax cuts, backing the Republican-engineered tax cuts. She is now facing a challenge from Democrat Katie Porter, a UC Irvine law professor who is critical of the Republican tax cuts and touts her role as a consumer advocate.
Voters will also be deciding a multitude of measures, including a minimum wage for hospitality industry jobs in Anaheim that the Walt Disney Co. has opposed.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)