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Vote-By-Mail Ballots Become Increasingly Popular

Voting by mail has become increasingly popular and for the general election in Santa Barbara, it’s the only way to get your vote counted.

About 60 percent of voters in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties get their ballots in the mail.

“Voting by mail is fairly popular in California. About 51 percent of the people in the 2012 election voted by mail,” said Joanie Jones, the co-president of the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara.

Jones said it’s easy access to voters’ ballots.

For Santa Barbara’s upcoming general election, 46,000 ballots were sent out. Last year 41 percent or about 18,000 were returned.

“There’s a cost savings to doing an all vote-by-mail election. Also, there was a trend that the majority of voters were already voting by mail so it was something that the city thought that it would be a natural fit,” said Gwen Peirce, the City of Santa Barbara’s city clerk services manager.

Some local cities have elections at the same time as bigger state or national races. Cities like San Luis Obispo use the mail vote for special elections.

Right now, Santa Barbara voters are choosing the mayor and some City Council members entirely by mailed ballots. It’s a cheaper alternative for the local government and could be more convenient for voters.

The envelope comes with all you need including the information pamphlet, ballot and return envelope.

It’s a process that’s becoming a lot more popular.

“Statewide the numbers have definitely increased every election and I would say yes, it’s definitely a trend,” said Peirce.

More than 4,000 people have already turned in their mail-in ballots but voters have until Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.

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