PRESS RELEASE from California Secretary of State

December 13, 2008 (916) 653-6575

Secretary of State Debra Bowen Reports Record Number
Of Californians Cast Ballots in November General Election

SACRAMENTO – More than 13.7 million voters cast ballots in the November 4, 2008, General Election, setting a new California record for the number of ballots cast in an election, according to final results certified today by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

The previous record for the number of votes cast in a California election was nearly 12.6 million, set in November 2004. This November, 79.4% of California’s 17.3 million registered voters cast ballots, marking the highest turnout on a percentage basis since 1976. The highest-ever percentage turnout in a California election was nearly 88.4% in 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in the presidential contest.

“This was an election for the history books,” said Secretary Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer. “Record numbers of Californians registered to vote and cast ballots in an exceptionally smooth election. I applaud voters for getting so involved in their democracy and I happily tip my hat to county elections officials for running such a successful election.”

The counties with the highest turnout on a percentage basis were Sonoma at 93.4%, Marin at 90.8%, and Amador at 88.6%. Turnout was also strong in California’s most populous counties of Los Angeles (78.4%), San Diego (83.7%), Orange (72.6%), San Bernardino (74.3%), and Riverside (78.5%).

More than 5.7 million voters, or 41.6%, cast their ballots by mail. The remaining 8 million California voters, or 58.4%, voted in polling places.

The certified election results are available on the Secretary of State’s website at County-by-county statistics on the number of voters who cast ballots by mail or at polling places are available at Historical statistics on voter eligibility, registration, and turnout are available at

The Statement of Vote shows presidential results broken down by county. It also includes statewide and county-specific results for the 12 statewide ballot measures on the November ballot.

The Secretary of State’s office will release a Supplement to the Statement of Vote by April 12. It will include more details on how votes were cast by Senate, Assembly, Board of Equalization, and county supervisorial districts, as well as by city.

California’s next regularly scheduled statewide election is the June 8, 2010, Primary Election. More information about state elections is available at