More Californians are bypassing the polling place in favor of voting by mail, changing campaign dynamics but helping to identify the winners and losers early in the night in the first count of ballots. The growth of what is known as “convenience voters” was evident in the June 5 primary, when a whopping 65 percent of Golden State residents made their choices via mail ballot. San Diego County mirrored the statewide trend, also coming in at 65 percent. In adjoining Riverside County, more than 70 percent of voters chose the mail method. Voting by mail greatly increases the number of early voters, requiring campaigns to make sure they reach those people weeks before the official Election Day. “No longer can campaigns count on a last-minute surge through some kind of story or advertising or revelation that could change the election in the last few days,” said Jack Pitney, a widely respected political scientist at Claremont-McKenna College near Los Angeles.
“The days of dragging people to the polls on Election Day or arranging for rides are fading,” he said. “Campaigns now have to contact people to make sure they have received their mail ballots and sent them in.” This year’s general election is on Nov. 6, but mail ballots —– expected to number more than 715,000 in San Diego County —- go out on Oct. 8. California law allows early voting starting 29 days before Election Day. That means the mail ballots can be filled out in less than 10 weeks.
Full Article: REGION: Voting by mail jumps, altering campaigns.