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Fewer SF voters expected this election than in 2008

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Voters cast their ballots at San Francisco’s City Hall Tuesday, November 8, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

It seems fewer San Francisco residents voted this election than in 2008.

Head of the Department of Elections John Arntz predicted turnout around 70 percent, less than the 81 percent seen in the November 2008 presidential election.

SEE RELATED: Complete SF Examiner election coverage

In the first returns Tuesday at 8:45 pm, the department counted 142,307 vote-by-mail ballots, which were received as of Sunday.

There are another 36,000 vote-by-mail ballots that have yet been counted that have subsequently been received by the department and an untold number that were dropped off at the polling stations. These vote-by-mail ballots won’t be counted Tuesday but in subsequent days.

The entire counting process will likely take another two weeks, Arntz told reporters at City Hall.

Arntz had planned for a turnout of 81 percent, which was the number of voters who came to the polls in the November 2008 presidential election when President Barack Obama was elected to his first four-year term. In Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, voter turnout was 72 percent.

“Right now I am curious to see how close to 70 percent we are going to get. That to me is the threshold at this point,” Arnzt said.

He said voter turnout didn’t surge toward the end of the day like it did in 2008. “We had heavy turnout in the morning initially,” Arntz said. “Then it got lighter toward noon. It never really surged in the end like what we saw in November 2008.”

Arntz has reported no issues with the voting at the 576 polling stations on Election Day. “All the polls opened up on time this morning. Everything was opened up by 7 o’clock,” he said.

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