June 30, 2009

GRAND JURY URGES VOTE BY MAIL ELECTIONS FOR SACRAMENTO COUNTY

SACRAMENTO'S GRAND jury is calling for officials to take steps to allow all elections to be conducted entirely by mail, a process that could save the county $1 million in each election.

The recommendation is contained in the final report of the 2008-2009 grand jury, which was released today and is available online at www.sacgrandjury.org

Elections officials endorsed the recommendation, saying that voting by mail not only saves the county money but promises to increase voter participation.

"We find that when people have the option of voting by mail, they do, they return their ballots," county elections spokesman Brad Buyse said. "It's cheaper, so we don't have to have 600 to 700 polling places and up to five precinct officers at each polling facility."

More people in Sacramento County already are voting by mail than going to polling places, Buyse said.

In the May 19 special election, 63.7 percent of the votes cast were by mail, and in last June's primary election 60 percent of the votes were by mail. In the November general election, however, polling places still received more ballots, with 55.8 percent of votes being cast there.

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