Voter Apathy

Published: Oct. 31, 2014 Updated: 6:04 p.m.

SACRAMENTO – California appears on track for another low-turnout election as elections clerks and analysts report that the number of voters mailing in their absentee ballots has declined compared with previous election cycles.

Many political observers expected low voter interest this year in a cycle with a governor’s race devoid of drama, no U.S. Senate race, and no high-interest ballot initiative. Primary turnout already hit a record low this year when just one in four registered voters cast ballots in June.

“We are not seeing the same call volume in 2010, the same web hits and the same number of questions – and that’s matching returns,” said Neal Kelley, the Orange County registrar of voters and president of California Association of Clerks and Election Officials.

In 2010, the last non-presidential statewide election, 2.9 million vote-by-mail ballots had been returned by this point, according to an analysis by the firm Political Data Inc. This year, that number is just 2.2 million, even though the number of absentee voters has grown by 3 million.

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