A sign outside a Los Angeles voting location in 10 languages. (Photo: Underawesternsky, via Shutterstock)
Moves to make voting easier in California have caused yet another divide between Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans say they are worried because the door to voter fraud might swing wide open. Democrats say California needs greater civic participation by groups who have historically shown lackluster voting turnouts, and automatic vote-by-mail and electronic registration will help.
U.S. Senate election, 2012
In little more than a decade, mail-in or “absentee” voting for statewide elections quadrupled, from 4.4 percent in 1978 to 18.4 percent in 1990, reflecting in part legal changes making it easier to vote absentee. Since the 1990s, mail-in ballots have increased exponentially. In the 2008 primary, 58 percent of the voters cast mail-in ballots, the first time in a California statewide election that mail-in ballots represented more than half the vote. In primaries since then, mail-in voting has risen steadily to a remarkable 65 percent in 2012. In the November 2012 general election, mail-in ballots accounted for about 51 percent. (Above: 2012 U.S. Senate election map/Kurykh, Wikimedia))