The November 2018 elections saw increases in voter turnout in Alameda County from prior midterm elections, with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters reporting an overall turnout of 66.8 percent.
Final turnout numbers and candidate results were released Dec. 6, documenting that 587,501 of Alameda County’s 879,912 registered voters cast ballots in the election. Turnout in Alameda County surpassed the state average of 61.2 percent.
Alameda County’s turnout surpassed its 2014 midterm elections turnout by 20 percent.
The number of registered voters who chose to vote by mail increased from 13 to 48 percent of the electorate between the last two midterm cycles, according to the Official Election Site of Alameda County.
“The Vote-by-Mail option continues to grow in popularity in Alameda County, with 428,001 voters ‒ or 73 percent of the total turnout‒ choosing to mail in their ballots,” said a Dec. 6 press release from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson said in a Facebook message that the ASUC and the campus made it easier to vote this year than in any other election in history, crediting an on-campus voting center and a ballot dropbox, as well as the ASUC Vote Coalition team and individual students and faculty who helped to get out the vote.
Robinson added that going into the election, his campaign knew turnout would be important. Specifically, he said it was important that the campaign won over both long-term Berkeley residents as well as students — a population which notoriously votes at comparatively lower rates and is largely registered in its home communities.
“Our campaign in the end received more votes than the total number of votes cast in the District 7 race four years ago,” Robinson said in the message. “Much of that is due to the national wave of youth and millennial engagement with this midterm election, but I suspect much of it is also due to the comprehensive voter education campaign that students carried out this year.”
According to Marie Claire “MC” de Martino, a campus student, CALPIRG — one of several student organizations taking part in get-out-the-vote efforts — was able to register 2,000 UC Berkeley students this past election cycle. CALPIRG raised awareness about the importance of voting through events such as a Free Speech Movement rally in October.
De Martino added that CALPIRG contacted students 105,000 times in total through emails, texts and calls and that she coordinated with campus administration through the ASUC to get CalCentral to have a banner advertising voter registration information.
“I’m really proud to know that we were able to get a record amount of students on UC Berkeley’s campus to get to vote,” de Martino said. “I think the fact that we had young voter turnout was good, but I’m still not satisfied. I think we can only stop at 100 percent.”