Berkeleyside is keeping a close eye on ballot returns throughout the city. As of Wednesday, 49% of Berkeley’s ballots had already been received by the county.
With additional ballots in the mail or ballot drop boxes, that number must be even higher. Not to mention the fact that not everybody votes: In 2016, Berkeley’s turnout was 78%.
Unsurprisingly, the return rates for different City Council districts vary. But it may come as a surprise to some just how great the disparity is. North Berkeley’s District 5 is leading the pack, with a 59% return rate, while Southside Berkeley’s District 7 — the student district — has the lowest return rate, just 31%.
The difference becomes even starker when you look at the raw numbers: District 5 has more than 12,000 registered voters while District 7 has fewer than 5,000. Other than D7, Berkeley council districts average about 10,600 registered voters each.
As of Wednesday, other council districts range from a 43% return rate (South Berkeley and downtown) to 46% (West Berkeley) to 51% (Northwest Berkeley and the Elmwood/Claremont area) to 54% (the Berkeley Hills).
See an interactive version of the ballot returns map, including ballots issued and return rates, on Berkeleyside’s 2020 Election hub. We update the stats daily.