Politics

Early Valley ballot returns shows Democrat lead

With under two weeks to go until Election Day, over five million California voters have cast their votes and returned their ballots, a quarter of the total electorate. 

Here is a breakdown of the numbers as of Wednesday – provided via Political Data, Inc. – for several races and areas of the Central Valley: 

21st Congressional District

The heated race between incumbent TJ Cox and former seat holder David Valadao has dominated the television airwaves for several weeks, and the early returns have Democrat ballots leading the charge. 

So far Democrats have returned 26,230 ballots compared to 16,668 for Republicans, an edge of nearly 10,000 ballots.

However, both returns come in at 24 percent of their respective party’s reach – there are 111,022 registered Democrats compared to 69,861 registered Republicans. Independents and other parties have returned 11,288 ballots. 

Voters 65 and older – the smallest share of the electorate – have returned the most ballots, 18,708. Ages 50-64 have returned 14,312 ballots, and ages 35-49 have returned 9,539 ballots. Ages 18-34 – the largest age demographic – have returned 11,627 ballots. 

22nd Congressional District

Democrat challenger Phil Arballo’s effort to unseat longtime Republican incumbent Devin Nunes may turn futile given voter registration, but the early returns have been slightly Democratic leaning to this point. 

Democratic voters have returned 42,143 ballots compared to 38,886 for Republicans, while independents and other party voters have sent back 19,508 ballots. Republicans make up the majority of the district, with nearly 160,000 voters compared to 135,000 for Democrats. 

The age demographics show a strong return for the oldest group – 40,800 individuals aged 65 and up have returned their ballots, accounting for 46 percent of that age group.

Ages 50-64 comes in next with 26,324 returned ballots – 27 percent of that group – and people aged 35-49 have sent in 18,063 ballots. The youngest age group is currently in last place with a return of 15,350 ballots, even though the group includes nearly 20,000 more people than the next largest group. 

Fresno County

Just like the congressional races, Democrats have an edge in early voting returns in Fresno County, leading Republicans 58,556 to 41,578. Independent and other party voters have returned 24,746 ballots. 

The age demographics have been returned in the opposite of their size: ages 65 and older have returned nearly 49,000 ballots while accounting for the smallest electorate. The youngest group, 18-34, has 147,931 registered voters but has only returned 20,399 ballots. 

Madera County

Republicans in Madera County make up the largest group with over 26,000 voters, but 6,971 people in that group have returned their ballots so far, while Democratic voters have the edge with 7,103 returned ballots. Independent voters along with other party voters have combined for a return of 3,484 ballots. 

The age group of 65 and older has returned over 8,000 ballots, nearly half of the registered voters for that group, while the youngest age group – 18-34 – has returned 2,306 ballots, only 12% of that group. 

Tulare County

Similar to Madera County, Tulare County has seen Democrats return more ballots (15,588) than Republicans have (13,901), even though there are about 10,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats. The independent and other party group has sent in 7,009 ballots. 

The age demographics follow suit with the other counties. Ages 65 and up have sent in 15,060 ballots compared to just 5,894 from individuals aged 18-34, even though the youngest group has over 25,000 more registered voters. 

Kings County

Registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats in Kings County by a nearly 4,000 voter margin, and the ballot returns have followed suit. Republicans have returned 6,147 ballots while Democrats have returned 5,599. Independent and other party voters have sent in 3,104 ballots. 

Once again, the senior age group is in the lead with 5,269 returns, while the youngest group has returned 2,815 ballots. 

Kern County

Kern County has seen Democrat voters return 38,051 ballots compared to 34,213 for Republicans, even though there are about 10,000 more Republicans in the county. Independent and other party voters have returned 20,674 ballots. 

The oldest age group dominates the field once again, having returned 33,728 ballots, although the youngest age group has turned in close to 1,000 more ballots than individuals aged 35-49.

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.