Popularity of mail-in ballot voting impacts vote count

5:15 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - A surge of mail-in ballots has arrived at county elections offices all over California.

The number of California voters casting a vote-by-mail ballot this year is expected to surpass the last presidential election in 2008 when about 42 percent, or 13.7 million ballots, were sent in.

While that sounds great with more people participating because of the ease of mail-in ballots, the downside is it takes longer to count.

For close races, the results might not be known for days, maybe even weeks.;

What's in the best interest for all Californians is for us to get the results right, not fast, but right," said Kim Alexander with the California Voter Foundation.

About nine million mail-in ballots have been sent out statewide, roughly 20 percent more than 2008. Counties take time to interpret voter intent, like a bubble not filled in correctly ... or choices crossed out.But one of the most time consuming activities is verifying that the signature on the envelope matches the signature on the voter registration card.

Then there are those who drop off their mail-in ballot to the polling place within a couple of days of Election Day, which furthers delays the tally.

Those ballots don't even get to the county registrar's office until the polls close," said Secretary of State Debra Bowen."So they don't get processed until that night or perhaps the following day or even the day after."

So in those tight races, like for Proposition 30, Gov. Brown's tax measure to boost funding to public education, this election could be a nail-biter.

" (I'm) nervous, anxious whether it's going to pass, if we're going to get funding for school," said high school student Diana Larius of Aptos.

"It's really important for us high schoolers, students, and anyone in California because it depends on our future," said high school student Jose Arias, also from Aptos.

Nannette Miranda


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