We now have the usual flip side of the “gypsy voter fraud” allegations that we heard yesterday — an equally specious complaint of voter suppression. Part of the complaint is that the mail-in ballot law was tossed out for the recall. Nothing can be said about that — that’s the rules, and you got to play’em. The other, more important claim, is that the turnout is exceptionally low, even for a recall. However, this may not be borne out by facts. With a few, very noteworthy exceptions, recalls usually see lower turnout. Let’s look at another high profile state legislative recall. Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce faced a recall which took place on an election day (albeit a true off year election). Election Day recalls should have higher turnout than a regular special election like in Colorado, and since Pearce was such a lightening rod, you might expect great turnout. Instead, 23,296 people voted, down from 31,023 who voted in the 2010 general election (when it was a safe seat).
… The best counter-examples are Gray Davis, Scott Walker and the full Wisconsin recalls. But those were much higher profile. Even the Walker one saw less turnout that was expected. Despite the spending, the Morse/Giron recalls don’t approach the notoriety of a gubernatorial recall.
So what is happening? Both sides are trying to manage expectations and win the debateover how the recall is portrayed.