As some counties in California continue to count ballots and wait for the results to be certified, Sacramento and Nevada County are reporting with record-high voter turnout.
“Changing to be a Voter-Choice-Act countym I think has made a big difference,” Registrar of Voters in Nevada County, Gregory Diaz said.
Nevada County reported slightly more than 79 percent voter turnout and Sacramento County reported around 68 percent voter turnout.
Courtney Bailey-Kanelos, registrar of voters for Sacramento County, said that this was the highest voter turnout they have had for a midterm election.
Diaz and Bailey-Kanelos said that this year was their counties first year participating in the Voter’s Choice Act which creates easier ways for people to vote in the election. In Sacramento and Nevada Counties people were mailed their ballots and reminders.
“It really helps when a ballot is mailed to the voters and it’s in their hands,” Diaz said.
Bailey-Kanelos said that it also helped that there were more opportunities for people to register to vote at the voting centers.
In California, people can register to vote conditionally up to the day of the election at their local elections office, but in the five counties participating in the Voter Choice Act, there were more centers for day-of registration.
Bailey-Kanelos said that in the November election they registered 11,045 people in the 13 days that the vote centers were open just in Sacramento County alone.
She also said that legislation in recent years has helped to increase voter turnout and that legislation that will go into effect next year will help further. One piece of legislation is Assembly Bill 216, that will require counties to pay for the postage necessary for voters to mail in their ballot.
“That, we think, will make a difference next election, increasing voter turnout,” Bailey-Kanelos said.
Bailey-Kanelos said that most of the ballots in Sacramento County were from vote-by-mail ballots.
“Seven percent of the votes were in-person voters,” Bailey-Kanelos said. “Most people used the ballot that we sent them.”
Bailey-Kanelos and Diaz both said that the high voter turnout could also be due to social media, what’s going on in the nation, and voting topics important to people.
Although there are many reasons that people get out to vote, Bailey-Kanelos and Diaz agree that ease of access to voting helps.