H-CENTRAL COAST

Oct 26, 2012 8:38 PM by Keli Moore

Election 2012: a surge in early voters

Early voting is underway in California. The clerk-recorders in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are busy as vote-by-mail ballots pour in by the thousands. The actaul ballot counting begins next week.

The County Clerk-Recorders office in San Luis Obispo has received up to 4,000 vote-by-mail ballots every day, with a total of 30,000 received. In Santa Barbra County, 35,000 people have already mailed in their ballots.

The reason for the spike in early voters? Many voters said convenience. Why wait when you can do it now was a common response from voters in San Luis Obispo, Friday.

Another contributing factor, there was a big push this year to get people to vote early, explained San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald.

"This is by far the most vote-by-mail ballots that we have issued in an election. We will probably top 96,000 ballots for the election," said Rodewald.

Both counties are seeing more young voters requesting to vote early as well. Rodewald said this is a new trend.

What's also new this election was voters having the option to register to vote on-line.

More than 8,000 people registered to vote online in San Luis Obispo County, and 12,000 in Santa Barbara County.

Rodewald said the online process makes the job of the office of the clerk-recorder a lot easier, but she also said these numbers are comparable to the last presidential election in 2008 when people had to mail in their registration forms.

There is still time to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Voters have until Tuesday, Oct. 30, and they can be turned in at any polling location. The deadline is 8 p.m. Nov. 6th, Election Day.

In the 2008 presidential election, 30 percent of all votes cast were done early, and all indications are for that record to be broken this year.

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