Changes to early voting are on the administrative and legislative calendar in many states and jurisdictions. A brief update from the mail bag:
- In Colorado, many counties have absentee ballot rates exceeding 70%. This was the threshold, by the way, that encouraged Oregon and Washington to move to full vote by mail. In Arapahoe County, less than 15% of the electorate is showing on up election day, and the county is contemplating a substantial reduction in precinct places, using election day vote centers instead. Officials estimate that they can reduce the number of election judges by 2/3.
- County clerk Kathy Neal, in Summit County IN, is proposing that all primaries and elections held in odd number years be conducted completely by mail. Neal expects this to result in a 25-30% cost savings by eliminating the need for election judges. Already , 40% of ballots come in via the mail in Sumit County.
- Pierce County, WA may finally have to move to full vote by mail elections, if a bill currently moving through the legislature passes and is signed by the governor. Part of the argument is fiscal: county auditor Julie Anderson estimates that the county spent $16.97 per precinct place vote (10,000 in 2010) vs. $6.88 per vote by mail ballot (135,000).