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People wait in line to pick up their ballots in the US presidential elections in the polling place at Wat Thai Temple on November 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Californians will cast ballots in dozens of tight races including Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan, abolishing the death penalty, easing the state's strict 'three strikes' sentencing law and also in the Presidential race between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Fewer voters turned out to cast their ballots this Election Day in Southern California than did in the 2008 election, mirroring a nationwide trend.
In Los Angeles County, 49.8 percent of registered voters cast their ballots Tuesday, compared with 76.8 percent in the 2008 election, according to the latest statistics from the California Secretary of State's Office.
However, about 32 percent of all registered voters requested mail-in ballots, and only 46 percent of the 1.5 million county-issued vote-by-mail ballots had been returned as of Monday, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office.
About 8.7 percent more Los Angeles County voters were registered to vote in this year's election than in 2008 -- 4,674,338 this year compared to 4,298,440 in 2008.
In Orange County, 51.3 percent voted, compared with 72.5 percent in 2008. San Bernardino County had 53.4 percent, compared with 74.3 percent in 2008. Riverside saw 48.4 percent vote Tuesday, compared with 73.1 percent in 2008.
Some 60.2 percent voted on Tuesday in Ventura County, compared with 77.6 percent in 2008, according to the Secretary of State.
The figures mirrored a national trend.
Some 118 million people voted in the White House race, but that number will go up as more votes are counted. In 2008, 131 million people cast ballots for president when voters shattered turnout records as they elected Barack Obama to his first term, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Even though the full picture may not be known for weeks because much of the counting takes place after Election Day, Curtis Gans, director of American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate, said numbers may be even lower than in 2004.
"This is one of those rare elections in which turnout in every state in the nation went down," Gans said.
NBCLA wire services contributed to this report.