When you head to the polls Tuesday to choose among the approximately 1,273 candidates running for county, state and federal offices, you'll probably be struck by how few of your neighbors are fulfilling their civic duty. There may be an innocent explanation for this: Almost half of the registered voters in California have their ballots delivered to them in advance so they can vote by mail.
According to the California secretary of state's office, county election officials have issued 8.8 million vote-by-mail ballots. With 17.7 million registered voters, that means 1 out of every 2 may already have made their choices and mailed them in.
The state makes it