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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO : Vote Turnout Triples After Consolidation

December 03, 1990

Voter turnout more than tripled, reaching 69%, in the first-ever consolidation of city and general elections on Nov. 6, according to final figures released by the county registrar of voters.

More than 9,000 of the 13,239 registered voters in the city went to the polls this month, compared to only 22% during the last municipal election in April, 1988. It was shortly after the 1988 vote that the City Council decided to consolidate city elections with the general election in November.

"That's a natural outgrowth of consolidating with the general election," said County Registrar of Voters Donald F. Tanney. "But 69% is a pretty heavy turnout. The countywide vote was only 62.1%." In Orange County, only Laguna Beach had a higher voter turnout, with 72.7%. San Clemente showed a 66.2% turnout, Mission Viejo 64.3% and Irvine 63.2%.

The low turnout experienced in 1988 is "pretty typical, not bad at all" for an April city election, Tanney said. Districts that hold elections apart from the general election usually get a "12 to 18% turnout at the maximum," Tanney said.

Tanney said most cities in the county have consolidated their elections to increase participation and to save money. Springtime city elections, traditionally held in March or April, are paid for entirely by the cities, while the general election costs are shared by all jurisdictions on the ballot, Tanney said.

Only two cities in Orange County, Tustin and Seal Beach, do not consolidate their city elections with the general election in November, Tanney said.

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