Dropbox at the Humboldt County Office of Elections. | File photo.


With two weeks to go before California’s official Primary Election Day, the Humboldt County Office of Elections has already received roughly 5,500 ballots.

“It is a surprisingly high turnout for this time of year,” said Humboldt County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Juan Pablo Cervantes.

During the last Presidential Primary Election, in 2020, a total of 47,969 ballots were cast, representing about 60.5 percent of registered voters at the time. If voters turn out in similar numbers this year, then that means more than 10 percent of the vote has already been cast. 

The county currently has 82,850 actively registered voters, though that number changes daily if not hourly, according to Cervantes. And if you’re hoping to vote in the upcoming election, today (Tuesday) is the last day to register. You can check your registration status and register to vote via the county’s elections website, here.

Cervantes, who was elected to office in 2022, said it’s difficult to compare this year’s early turnout numbers to last year’s because his office didn’t track data equivalently in 2023. But generally speaking, the percentage of Californians who vote absentee has climbed dramatically in recent years, due in large part to the state’s post-pandemic implementation of universal voting by mail. 

In the 2016 Presidential Primary, less than 59 percent of the ballots cast statewide were submitted by mail. Six years later, in 2022, that figure jumped to more than 91 percent. 

For more info on the local candidates running this go-round, head on over to our LoCO Elections page, where you can read responses to reader questions and submit your own.

And again, if you haven’t yet registered to vote on March 5, you have until the close of business today to do so. If you miss the deadline, California offers same-day voter registration, which allows people to register at vote centers and then cast a provisional ballot. That registration becomes valid and permanent once county elections officials process and validates the information.