In 2014, California solidified its reputation as the nation’s slacker state with an embarrassingly low voter turnout: Only 25 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the June primary, and 42 percent in the November general election. Factor in eligible voters not registered to vote and the numbers are even bleaker: Less than a third of folks eligible to vote in November 2014 actually did.
Since then, the state Legislature’s passed no fewer than 16 bills aimed at boosting voter registration and turnout, including several bills from San Diego’s delegation.
• Sen. Ben Hueso’s SB 415, also signed into law last year, seeks to address low turnout in special elections by requiring cities to consolidate off-cycle elections with statewide elections.
• Signed into law this year, Gonzalez’s AB 1921 expands the list of who can drop off someone else’s mail ballot at the registrar of voters — previously it was limited to a close family member (e.g., parent, spouse, child) or someone who resided with the voter.
• Also signed into law this year was AB 2466, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s bill that clears up confusion over whether people on probation or locked up in county jail can vote (they can). Only state prison inmates, or people under parole supervision, are barred from voting.
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Turnout may reach a high water mark this November due to two measures on the ballot. Sadly Governance is not the drawing card, rather entertainment has captured the imagination of the masses. Legalization of Marijuana and a new Football venue will entice voters to the ballot box. Don't count on them marching to a polling place. Voting by mail is the preferred means, and many will ask why they can't vote using a paperless ballot.