City May Experiment with an all Vote-By-Mail Election to Increase Voter Turnout
The next time there is a special city council district election in Los Angeles, it could end in dramatically different results. Not necessarily about who is elected (there's a chance of that, though), but regarding turnout. The L.A. City Council today voted to draft an amendment to the election code that would authorize an all vote-by-mail election. Currently to vote by mail, a registered voter must request the ballot, fill it out and return it by a deadline. In a vote-by-mail election, however, it takes away the first step by automatically sending all registered voters a ballot.
Today's motion directed the City Attorney to create an election code to enable a vote-by-mail experiment. If approved, the next single district special election after six months -- that's how long an election code must be posted before taking effect -- would be both a full vote-by-mail election, but supplemented with all regular polling places, which were kept in place because of concerns that the drastic change would confused voters.
After that election, an evaluation would be created to see if voter turnout increased or not. From there, City Councilmembers would decide on expanding the program.