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Initial voter turnout in Bay Area lower in 2012 than 2008

A California voter
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A California voter
 

Voter

The Bay Area likes to be heard. Berkeley's student protesters, the Black Panthers, the Occupy movement and many other groups throughout the years have given the region a reputation for speaking up.

The Bay Area is also home to 20 percent of California's 24,491 voting precincts, with more than 3.7 million registered voters (see chart below). But, according to data released by Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office, 54.9 percent of registered voters from the Bay Area actually cast a ballot in Tuesday's election. A searchable database of election results is available here

Statewide, the numbers weren't any better. More than 18 million Californians are registered to vote, but a little more than half, 9.5 million, went to the polls. More than 13 million voted in the 2008 presidential elections in California. County elections officials have until Dec. 7 to report their final results, and the secretary of state has until Dec. 14 to certify the election results.

All this makes us wonder what you think can be done to increase voter turnout in California? Were you in line at 8 a.m., or did you skip the ballot box this year? How can our government incentivize voters to turn out? Should they have to?

We've collected a quick snapshot of countywide voting statistics for the Bay Area below. Weigh in on what you think about the voter turnout in the comments below. 

turnout chart

Clarification: This post and headline update to clarify that vote results are based on initial returns.

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