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CITYWIDE — In a city that’s traditionally extremely politically engaged, less than half of Santa Monica’s registered voters cast ballots last month.

Only 48.18 percent of the city’s registered electorate voted in this year’s election, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar, which completed its final canvas on Monday. It was the city’s worst turnout in recent history.

The percentage pales in comparison to 2008, when more than 87 percent of the city’s voters cast ballots.

Last month’s contest was a federal mid-term election, which typically sees lower voter participation than presidential election years, like 2008.

Still, November’s vote total is down from the last mid-term election, in 2010, when 64 percent of registered residents voted. There were 38,117 ballots cast at the polls that year, compared to 28,333 this year.

In 2006, a mid-term election, 34,440 residents came out to the polls — close to 60 percent of the city’s registered voters. In 2002, nearly 55 percent of the electorate showed up to the polls.

Nationally, vote totals were the lowest since World War II, according to a Washington Post article published last month. As of the article, only 36.4 percent of voting-eligible Americans had cast ballots.

Mayor Pam O’Connor, who won reelection with just under 6,700 votes, pointed to theses national voting trends when asked about the turnout.

“It might just mean we are not that different than the rest of the US,” she said in an e-mail.

Aside from some insignificant changes in candidates’ ranking, the results were the same as on election night, after fewer than 21,000 votes had been counted.

In the Board of Education race challengers Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Craig Foster swapped positions. Foster held the second place spot by a couple dozen votes on election night but Tahvildaran-Jesswein won the spot by more than a hundred.

The Los Angeles County Registrar had about a month to count all the ballots and certify the results.

Bullet-voting was common in this year’s contest, with the average Santa Monica voter selecting just over two candidates for three City Council seats.

In 2008, bullet-voting — the act of selecting only one candidate despite being offered the choice to select more — was more common. In 2006, it was less common.

Measure LC, which was introduced by City Council to oppose a measure put forth by supporters of the Santa Monica Airport, was the most voted-on measure and received more “Yes” votes than any other measures or candidate on the ballot.

More than 25,000 Santa Monicans voted on the measure, with 15,434 favoring it.

Incumbent Kevin McKeown was the top vote-getter in the City Council race — the only council candidate to crack 10,000 votes.

“The humbling take-away for those of us at the bottom of the ballot is that we local folks, and even local issues, aren’t the drivers to get voters to the polls,” McKeown said. “Given an unusually uninspiring set of races at the state level, many residents seem to have stayed home. I’m not sure unmotivated is the same as happy, though.”

In past elections, five candidates commonly recorded more than 10,000 votes.

A strong field — eight candidates recorded 6 percent or more of the total vote — combined with the low voter turnout, is likely responsible for the low winning number.

dave@www.smdp.com

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