Automatically mail every registered voter a ballot, they said. Get rid of all those neighborhood polling places. Replace them with convenient dropboxes and a few “superstore” voting centers. That will boost turnout, they said, and hoped.
In the June primary, five counties tried it. The result? Their average turnout shot up by 12 percent — but so did the state average.
After record-low turnout in the last midterm election, Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento and San Mateo counties were the first five counties in the state to opt to participate in a new election model passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in an effort to get more people to the polls.
Compared to 2014, Napa, Nevada and Sacramento counties had a 10 to 12 percent increase in voter turnout this year. Two were outliers: Madera’s turnout increased 8 percent, and San Mateo’s shot up 17 percent.
Let’s put that into perspective. Voter turnout in the 2014 primary was dismally low, so it didn’t take much to outdo that year’s turnout with 37.6 percent of registered voters casting ballots.