High turnout was reported in Alameda County on Election Day 2018.

Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

Long Lines And High Turnout At Bay Area Election Sites

KCBS Radio Afternoon News
November 06, 2018 - 4:20 pm

Long lines and massive get-out-the-vote efforts were common sights around the Bay Area on Tuesday even though few of the marquee races appeared to be competitive in California. 

A drive-thru for handing in ballots in Oakland at the county courthouse was busy from early this morning while drop boxes needed regular emptying to prevent them from overflowing. Turnout in Alameda County was expected to hit 70 percent of voters, according to Tim Dupuis from the county Registrar of Voters office. 

There was a similar scene at San Francisco's City Hall. 

"The potential turnout would be the highest turnout for a midterm election since 1974," said San Francisco Department of Election John Arntz,

The midterm elections have been framed as a referendum on the first two years of the Trump administration. High numbers of voters around the country responding to exit polls indeed indicated that Trump affected their voting.  

Health care, immigration and the economy, meanwhile were ranked by voters as their top three issues, according to exit polling. 

"I have to come out and vote, because it's so important and for the young people, especially, it's so important," said Nadia Menjivar, who was voting with her daughter in South San Francisco.   

A good government group has reported receiving an above average number of complaints from voters encountering problems at polling sites across the state. California Common Cause said that it had fielded 800 reports of broken machinery, stations that had opened late and other disruptions.

UC-Berkeley's campus was alive with activity. A student group that had registered more than 2,000 of their classmates was today giving out ballot information, doughnuts and condoms —all to drum up excitement about Election Day. There was also live music and a bouncy house.

A number of key offices are on the ballot in California. Gov. Jerry Brown is retiring, leaving the door open for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat or Republican real-estate developer John Cox in position to take over. 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is up for re-election and seeking a fifth term in Washington. She's facing a challenge from state Sen. Kevin de Leon.

Nationally, the question is whether Democrats will dislodge the GOP from control of both wings of Congress or will Republicans cement their power for the second half of Trump's first term.

Democrats are hoping to reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives. Their chances of overcoming the Republicans in the Senate is considered a more difficult prospect. 

"We need a government that represents people and fights for people," said one student at Berkeley. 

KCBS Radio reporters Holly Quan, Margie Shafter, Matt Bigler and Bob Butler contributed to this article.