Monday, February 14, 2011
Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, introduced legislation in the state Senate today to allow San Diego County to hold all- mail elections.
The bill, if passed, would create a five-year pilot program for all-mail voting that applies to local, state and federal races. Local jurisdictions would have the option to use the all-mail system.
After the five-year test, county election officials would have to make a report to the state on costs and voter turnout.
"This legislation will preserve citizens' right to vote and save money for local governments at the same time," said Kehoe. "Almost half of all voters in California now cast their ballots by mail and it's only natural that we move toward all-mail elections to increase voter turnout."
While 48 percent of voters statewide cast their ballots by mail last November, the share was 55 percent in San Diego.
The counties of Alpine, Monterey and Stanislaus have held trial all-mail elections in the past, Kehoe said.
In a 1993 experiment in Stanislaus County, voter participation was 6.8 percent above the statewide rate, at a time when that county traditionally trailed the average for California as a whole by 6 to 8 percent, according to Kehoe.