Though California’s polls closed last night at 8, Super Tuesday vote tallying continued into the early morning with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Arizona Sen. John McCain winning the state’s primary elections.
As of 2:09 a.m., and with 74.0 percent of California’s precincts reporting, Clinton led Illinois Sen. Barack Obama 52.7 to 40.6 percent, while 42.3 percent of Republicans voted in favor of McCain, 32.6 for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 11.6 in favor of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 5.9 for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 4.2 in favor of Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Statewide, with 74.0 percent of precincts reporting, Propositions 94 through 97, which amended the Indian gaming compact, were approved by a margin of approximately 12 percent. However, voters rejected Propositions 91 and 92 – which provided funding for transportation and community colleges, respectively – by 15.2 and 16.6 percent. Additionally, Proposition 93, which limits California legislators’ terms, failed by 6.4 percent.
At the county level, voters followed the statewide trend closely, with one notable exception: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Obama edged out Clinton last night by just under 4,000 votes, leading 49.8 percent to 42.4, with Edwards pulling in 5.1 percent. Additionally, Santa Barbara County voters rejected Measure S, which aimed to provide funds for emergency medical services through a parcel tax.
On the Republican side, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, county voters chose McCain with 40.4 percent, while Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani and Paul took in 32.2, 11.9, 6.4 and 4.4 percent, respectively.
Nationwide, Clinton led Obama in numbers of delegates, though Obama won more states. Democratic primary voters seemed split between the two, according to The Associated Press. McCain, on the other hand, had a strong showing, performing better than both Romney and Huckabee.
Twenty-four states held caucuses and primaries yesterday, and though polls officially closed at 8 p.m., according to The Associated Press, ballot shortages and absentee counts delayed the final result. Further confounding the results, Edwards and Giuliani each claimed significant portions of the vote, despite having already dropped out of the race.
Edwards and Giuliani both amassed just under 6 percent of their party vote in California – likely due to the considerable number of absentee ballots cast this year. According to UCSB American politics professor Garrett Glasgow, the vote by mail option is changing the way many Americans vote.
“Candidates can’t just make a last minute push to win voters over, as a significant portion of them are now casting their ballots weeks before election day,” Glasgow said.
On campus and in Isla Vista, politically active locals made their voices heard in this year’s election. Lee Mirrer, an election official at the San Rafael Residence Hall polling station, said that university students were particularly engaged in the politics of this election season and seemed eager to cast their votes.
“Most of the students are voting very quickly,” Mirrer said. “Most of them seem really prepared, like they know exactly what they want.”
Mirrer said that he has worked at local polling places for the past five years and is confident that the youth vote will change the course of this election.
“I think college students are really smart and well-informed,” Mirrer said. “They have new, fresh ideas about what will work. We need the youth of America to get involved in the decisions of the country.”
Nikki Gayton, a third-year history major and election official at the San Rafael polls, said that students like herself have the will and the intelligence to make a positive change this election season.
“I like being able to be part of the process,” Gayton said. “I think college students are very opinionated. In this environment we’re forced to think every day so we should put that to good use.”
Robert Young, an election official and coordinator at the San Miguel Residence Hall voting booths, said he enjoyed helping students become part of the political process, but also cautioned against apathy on the part of any registered American.
“It’s fun to watch students vote for the first time and have their opportunity,” Young said. “Students should vote for the same reasons everyone should. If we don’t vote we’re responsible for what we get.”