California: Los Angeles County’s reluctance to vote by mail hurting candidates, causes | San Francisco Chronicle
For California Democrats, sprawling Los Angeles County is the scary-looking guard dog that just won’t bark. In November’s election, California’s largest county was dead last in turnout, with just over 31 percent of registered voters casting ballots. And even that dismal number was a huge improvement from the June primary, when Los Angeles County turnout was 16.9 percent — also the lowest in the state. The dismal local turnout makes a difference, particularly to Southern California politicians who aspire to statewide office, like former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former Rep. Jane Harman. Both have been mentioned as potential candidates for the seat that Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer will be giving up after 2016. Plenty of politicians, consultants and academics blame the county’s turnout woes on the mail. “Los Angeles County is still suffering the effects of not embracing vote-by-mail years ago,” said Douglas Herman, a Democratic political consultant in Pasadena.