Voting by mail is increasing each year as voters discover the convenience of it as opposed to showing up at the polling booth either before or after work, barring an emergency or illness; election officials encourage mail-in voting to save on the cost of maintaining polling places.
In this year's California primary, 42 percent, or 9 million, of the votes cast were mailed in. This is up from 25 percent 10 years ago. Twenty years ago it was only 9 percent. And 30 years ago it was 5 percent. Starting January 2002, voters have been able to apply for permanent vote-by-mail status to have their mail-in ballots automatically sent to them for all future elections.
When completed ballots are received in the county Election Department, the signature on the envelope is checked against that of the registration form, then the ballot is separated from the envelope and it is intermingled anonymously with the other ballots. This guarantees secrecy. The Election Department will be open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 1, for people to request or return a ballot.
As of Oct. 21, Contra Costa County had 527,145 registered voters, broken down into:
This should make for an interesting election as we see what direction the much discussed "undecideds" go.
This year we also are anticipating the Bradley effect for reasons besides race. This name came from the 1982 election when African-American Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, a Democrat, lost the election for governor after polls showed him the winner. Voters apparently lied to polltakers because they did not want to admit their racist feelings. In this election, there are many reasons to lie to polltakers: racism, disappointment in a party's platform, or going against your friends' opinions or your church's teachings on state Prop 8.
If you haven't already, be sure to vote.
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