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San Diego Mail-In Ballots Coming In Slowly

A voter fills in a 2012 mail-in ballot.

Photo by Holly Hayes, Flickr

Above: A voter fills in a 2012 mail-in ballot.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said his office already has received more than 180,000 mail-in ballots for this June election. That’s about 20 percent, so far, of all the ballots his staff have mailed out to voters.

Vu said slow returns might be because this is the first time the ballots are reflecting California's “top two” primary election, where voters will be able to see and chose between all candidates running for office, rather than only the candidates in their party.

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“So,“ Vu said, “as opposed to seeing a couple of candidates for the office of governor, for example, now you’re seeing a list of 15 candidates. So I think individuals are doing a little more research into the candidates, and that could be one reason why we’re seeing a lighter return of mail-in ballots.”

But Vu predicts that by Election Day the mail-in ballots will be well over half of all the ballots ultimately cast.

“My projection is that about 60 percent of all the votes cast will be mail ballots, and 40 percent will be people going to the polls — in fact the gap between the two may be larger. “

Vu said starting in 2010, more voters chose mail-in ballots than going to the polls, and at the last gubernatorial primary, 65 percent of all ballots cast in San Diego were mail ballots.

That means the first batch of election results released on Tuesday night when the polls close at 8 p.m. will be a good indication of the direction of the election. Vu estimated that first release of voting results will be about 30 percent of the final total: all the mail-in ballots already returned that his staff have managed to count.

However results won’t really start flowing till after 10 p.m., Vu said, and his workers will be counting ballots till about 2:30 a.m.

Voters who want to cast their ballots in this primary election early can do so at the Registrar of Voters office this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The registrar’s new office is at 5600 Overland Ave., Kearny Mesa.

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