Los Altos sees extremely high turnout for 2020 election

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Andrew Yee/Special To The Town Crier
Voters line up on Election Day at the Los Altos Youth Center to cast their ballots.

More than 87% of registered voters in Los Altos submitted ballots during the 2020 election, according to data from the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

Over 19,200 of the 22,101 registered voters in the city have voted, as of Thursday (Nov. 12). The county has counted 92% of ballots submitted. Los Altos’ turnout is tracking higher than the 80% turnout across the county.

Voter turnout nationwide was likely buoyed by the volatile presidential election. Consistent with the rest of the county, Los Altos residents voted overwhelmingly for President-elect Joe Biden with approximately 80% of voters checking the Democratic ticket. President Donald Trump received less than 20% of the vote in the city.

State propositions

On state propositions, a majority of Los Altos residents supported Proposition 15, which would have raised taxes on industrial and commercial properties worth more than $3 million, despite the measure failing statewide.

Both Los Altos and Los Altos Hills voters didn’t approve of Proposition 16, which would have reinstated affirmative action in California — though that measure also didn’t pass. They did not support Proposition 19, which passed statewide and will provide tax breaks to older California homeowners. Residents of the jurisdictions also overwhelmingly opposed Proposition 21, which would have strengthened local governments’ ability to enact rent control measures. That proposition didn’t pass in the state.

On Proposition 22, arguably the most controversial ballot measure this cycle, both Los Altos and Altos Hills were in support. Prop. 22, which passed, allows for app-based driving companies such as Uber and Lyft to classify workers as independent contractors.

Los Altos voters, but not those in Los Altos Hills, were also in favor of eliminating cash bail. But Proposition 25 did not pass in the state.

Council breakdown

The local Los Altos City Council race breakdown featured a split map between the top-two vote getters. Sally Meadows, who won the most votes citywide, received a majority of the support in the northernmost five precincts of Los Altos, from Loyola Corners and above. Councilwoman Lynette Lee Eng, who won re-election, claimed the precincts in South Los Altos – where she resides.

Jonathan Weinberg, who won the final open seat on the council, finished third in most of the precincts.

Pre-election turnout

Every single registered voter in the county received a mail-in ballot, and 78% of them in Los Altos were returned prior to the election, besting the 66% mark countywide, according to the voter data tracking company Political Data Inc.

There were 17,315 ballots were returned by Nov. 2, the day before the election. Eighty-two percent of registered Democrats returned ballots, compared to 75% of registered Republicans and 72% of independents or members of other political parties.

The largest share of the electorate that submitted ballots by mail were those age 65 and older, the data revealed. Eighty-seven percent of those voters returned ballots, with the 50-64 age group not far behind, at 81%.

Younger voters lagged behind their older peers – 65% of voters ages 18-34 returned mail-in ballots, and 74% of voters ages 35-49 submitted. The age demographic data for Los Altos was consistent with that of the county.

The breakdown by ethnic group was fairly consistent within the city. Seventy-eight percent of both registered White and African American voters returned ballots. Seventy-six percent of Asian voters and 75% of Latino voters submitted ballots.

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