Nearly half of votes this fall in California may be cast by mail

The LA Times has a story about the rising popularity of voting by mail in California, “Popularity of mail-in voting surges in California, elsewhere.” Most interesting to me in the story was the amount of variance across California counties in the popularity of voting by mail:

Los Angeles County — the nation’s largest single voting district — has the state’s lowest mail-in voting bloc, with 20.6% of registered voters. Dean Logan, the county’s registrar-recorder, attributes the lower percentage to a more complicated ballot than those in other counties. He said that Angelenos tend to enjoy their neighborhood polling places, but some experts said the county does not publicize mail-in options as much as others do.

Even so, Logan said, the county has registered 32% more people to vote by mail than it did in 2004 and will issue the state’s highest number of vote-by-mail ballots before Nov. 4.

Northern California counties have among the highest percentage of mail-in voters in the state: Mendocino at 74.3%, Santa Clara at 68.6%, Marin at 59.9%. So far, San Francisco has registered 40.6%.

Dean’s posed two interesting hypotheses about why LA County has such a lower voting-by-mail rate than many other counties in California, and it would be fascinating to understand the county-by-country trends in more detail.