Stanislaus County already has 36,100 mail-in ballots

Election day is a few days away, but 36,100 Stanislaus voters had cast their ballots as of Friday.

Stanislaus County Clerk Lee Lundrigan said that's the number of vote-by-mail ballots her office had received. The vote-by-mail ballots include voters who requested absentee ballots and those in precincts that aren't large enough to justify a polling place.

Lundrigan's office will be working today to prepare the vote-by-mail ballots to be counted on election night. Ballots received today, Monday and Tuesday won't make the Tuesday tally and will be counted later and included in the final canvass.

The vote-by-mail ballots are far ahead of the total for November's election, Lundrigan said. The total in November was 28,316, she said.

Stanislaus County's mail-in voters have accounted for more than half of all votes cast since the November 2005 election.

Lundrigan avoided predicting a turnout, but said presidential primaries see higher turnouts than local elections, such as November's election. The presidential primary in March 2004 drew a 39 percent turnout, compared with about 20 percent in November.

Presidential elections usually generate more than 60 percent turnout.

Tuesday's turnout could be higher than usual because the contests in both major parties are unsettled.

-- By Tim Moran