More absentee ballots are cast |

More absentee ballots are cast

Susan Wood

Absentee ballots may dominate a November election taken up by the selection of three city council members and a slew of initiatives ranging from a gas tax to eminent domain in California.

The El Dorado County Elections Department reported 44,295 absentees as of Wednesday – amounting to about half the 100,560 registered voters.

Through the years, the county has watched the absentees grow over the last few years. In 2002, a little under 28,000 were recorded, a number that almost doubled for the 2004 presidential election.

“For some folks it’s easier to vote at the kitchen table or dining table or wherever,” Registrar Bill Schultz said. Voters may need time at home. There are 113 items on the California ballot.

“It’s the nature of absentees. They went up after any voter was allowed to register as permanent absentee,” said Joe Zitzelberger of the elections office in Placerville, the county seat.

Granted, about a third of the 150 total precincts in the county represent mail-in only precincts.

City residents seem to like going to the polls more than their county neighbors.

The number of absentees in South Lake Tahoe has come in as 2,208 out of 8,549 registered. That’s 25 percent opting to mail in their choices.

And despite Sacramento having to ask for more postage from absentee voters to return their ballots, El Dorado County managed to fit everything on one card – meaning only one stamp is needed.

“We went to great lengths to it all on one,” elections Supervisor Norma Gray said.

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