November 8, 2007 - Absentee ballots dominate county returns for first time
Paper: Times-Herald (Vallejo, CA)
Title: Absentee ballots dominate county returns for first time
Date: November 8, 2007
While the number of Vallejo and Benicia residents who voted on Tuesday won't be available for several days, countywide voter turnout was considerably lower than in the election in 2005, officials said.
But nearly two-thirds of those who cast votes did so by absentee ballots, which could indicate a growing preference among busy residents. Election officials say it was the first time in Solano County that absentee votes outnumbered those cast the traditional way in local precincts.
About 31 percent of the 155,295 registered voters in Solano County voiced their opinions Tuesday, either at the polls or with absentee ballots.
In 2005, about 57 percent of the county's registered voters cast their ballots.
However, this year's turnout was higher than the last mayoral elections in 2003, when only 28 percent of voters participated in the election.
Lindsey McWilliams, the county's assistant registrar of voters, said while he hasn't been at the job for very long, he was impressed with the quantity of signs posted for candidates.
The number of registered voters within the county has fallen as well the past four years, with about 15,000 fewer people registered this year than in 2003.
Solano County residents casting absentee ballots surpassed the number of voters physically at the polls this year.
About 30,000 absentee ballots were counted, compared with only about 18,500 people who voted in person. That represents more than 62 percent of the total.
This is a change from the previous two elections, where most people voted at the polls.
McWilliams, who joined the county election department early this year, said he did not know why turnout declined from 2005. "I haven't been here long enough to make an informed decision," he said. "I don't know what the difference was between then and now."
Author: ANDREA WOLF/Times-Herald staff writer
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