Polling places across Arcata are reporting higher than anticipated turnout this afternoon, as steady streams of young voters make their way to the polls. Phrases used by a number of poll workers included, "strong and steady," "higher than usual," and "surprising."
Off-year, non-presidential elections like this one are often a yawn for most registered voters, with turnout usually peaking at an abysmal 35 percent or so. But this year, the influx of surprise voters, especially young ones, raises the question: What's so exciting this time around? Um, Prop. 19. Duh.
Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee Chair Milt Boyd is overseeing electoral operations over at Humboldt State University, where a continual line of students readied to vote at the polling place. He said Prop. 19 certainly brought out the crowds, but as a side effect other issues on the ballot will be affected by the youth casting a ballot, which could be a boon for Democratic and Progressive candidates both locally and statewide.
Whether or not the generally apathetic youth come out to vote for an election is usually anyone's guess. But if the anecdotal evidence is any indication, Arcata can expect a surprisingly high turnout this year and, maybe, help tip support for Prop. 19 in the county over the finish line.