California Vote by Mail

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As noted in previous dispatches, a number of states have seen a rise in voters casting ballots before Election Day. California is no exception. Voting by mail in the state has grown steadily over nearly 50 years. While the use of mail voting falls short of the 100 percent figure found in the state’s West Coast neighbors, Oregon and Washington, 65 percent of California voters cast ballots by mail in the June 2012 primary. Some of the larger counties, like Riverside, saw 70 percent of ballots cast by mail.

In 1962, just less than 3 percent of ballots cast during the general election in California were submitted by mail. By the 1988 general election, that number was nearly 15 percent of ballots cast. By 2000, nearly one in four voters cast ballots via mail, and by 2008 more than 40 percent of ballots were cast by mail.