Will four-of-ten (or more) California votes be cast absentee or early?

California’s Secretary of State Bruce McPherson yesterday released his predictions for voter turnout in next weeks election: a prediction that 55% of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots.

But the really interesting prediction is that 44% of these ballots will come from absentee or early voters, showing that these convenience voting methods are being utilized in a dramatically increasing way in California.

Some data from McPherson’s release on this trend:

The latest registration figures compiled by Secretary McPherson’s office indicate 15,837,108 million voters are registered to vote in next Tuesday’s election. This is an increase of more than 500,000 registered voters since the 2002 General Election. As of this morning, an informal survey with responses from 54 county elections officials reported more than 5.1 million absentee ballots were issued and over 1.5 voted absentee ballots were received.