A bill that would allow vote-by-mail elections in San Mateo County advanced out of the Legislature Monday and is headed to the governor’s desk for signature.
Assembly Bill 2028, authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, would allow San Mateo County to join Yolo County in using mail primarily for three election dates prior to 2018 when the pilot program expires.
The pilot sends a ballot, return envelope and prepaid postage to each voter but also allows at least one polling place and drop-off location in each city for those who prefer the old-fashioned method.
The pilot is measuring the effect of vote-by-mail elections on voter turnout and breaks it down by demographics like ethnicity, age, gender, disability and political party affiliation.
Yolo County released its first election report this year showing a 43 percent cost savings but inconclusive data on turnout results.
Adding urban San Mateo County’s data to rural Yolo County’s information is expected to better indicate the potential statewide effects.
San Mateo County has long favored absentee voting. In the June primary, mail-in ballots accounted for 78 percent of votes cast.