Typically a Republican stronghold, Los Altos fell to John F. Kerry in the Nov. 2 presidential race. Kerry also won Los Altos Hills, but by a slimmer margin, according to the final vote count certified by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters last week. A higher-than-usual voter turnout delayed the release of the final results while officials tallied stacks of provisional and absentee ballots.
In Los Altos, Kerry received 10,198 votes compared to incumbent George W. Bush, who received 6,035. In Los Altos Hills, Kerry received 2,674, Bush 2,009.
The tally confirms what officials predicted. Voter turnout was higher for this presidential election than for the 2000 election.
"Definitely this election was bigger in terms of the number of people who voted," said Matt Morales, media coordinator for the registrar of voters. "Just in terms of comparing this to past presidential elections, this is the largest one we've seen in a long time."
This year, 18,638 registered voters in Los Altos turned out for the election. In 2000, only 15,850 voted. In the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore received 8,384 votes to Bush's 6,574.
In November 4,890 Los Altos Hills residents voted, compared to 4,648 in the 2000 presidential election.
The registrar of voters made available 27,000 paper ballots for approximately 25 percent of voters to make up for long lines, but not nearly that many were needed, said Elaine Nelson, assistant registrar of voters. About 6 percent of voters in Santa Clara County used paper ballots.
Voter turnout in Los Altos was 81 percent. In Los Altos Hills, it was 79 percent. In the 2000 election, overall voter turnout was 70.7 percent in Santa Clara County.
The registrar of voters completed tallying votes cast in last month's election around Nov. 19. The votes were certified Nov. 30. A total of 610,099 ballots were cast in Santa Clara County. The number represents 71 percent of the 865,271 registered voters.