By Miriam Raftery
September 2, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The ballot box may soon be a relic of the past for voters in special elections.
A bill on the Governor’s desk would allow the Registrar of Voters to conduct all special elections entirely by mail. San Diego has had many special elections in recent years, including mayor, city council, state legislature and Congress.
But manning polling places is costly, and turnout in special elections tends to be lower than general elections.
Fewer than 20% of voters cast ballots in several recent special elections—including a special election that put San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez into office.
Gonzalez authored the measure that, if signed by the Governor, would allow San Diego’s Registrar of Voters to conduct elections for any open legislative or Congressional seat in San Diego County entirely by mail-in ballots.
San Diego’s vote-by-mail special elections would be a pilot program that if successful, could later be adopted statewide.
Gonzalez says vote-by-mail elections would increase turnout and save money. The measure is supported by San Diego’s Registrar of Voters and drew no opposition from voter advocacy groups.