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Voters preferred mailbox to ballot box, secretary of state says

July 13, 2012 |  6:59 pm

California primary voters preferred mailbox to ballot box
Less than one-third of California's voters participated in the June primary election, the secretary of state's office said Friday, and a majority of those who cast ballots did so by mail.

Turnout for the June 5 election was 31.1%, and 65% of the 5,328,296 who voted used mail-in ballots instead of going to the polls on election day -- a California record.

That broke the previous record set in the May 2009 special statewide election, in which 62% of ballots were cast by mail, officials said.

"Given the ease and convenience that voting by mail offers, it's not surprising to see more and more people choose to cast their ballots from home," Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a statement.

Among the counties, turnout was lowest in Los Angeles County, where just 21.8% of voters cast ballots, and highest in rural Sierra (59.2%), Alpine (58.6%) and Amador (57.1%). Sierra and Alpine are the only California counties that conduct their elections entirely by mail.

Low turnouts also were recorded in San Bernardino County, with 23.7%, and Orange County, with 26.5%.

Most politics watchers expect turnout will be considerably higher for the Nov. 6 general election, which will feature what is expected to be a close race for president and include several ballot measures, including tax proposals.


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-- Jean Merl

Photo: Michael Daniels accepts ballots in Sacramento on June 5, 2012. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press