Voters starting earlier this year |

Voters starting earlier this year

Absentee voting is gaining popularity in Nevada County, as it is throughout the state.

More than half of the county’s voters cast absentee ballots in the June 6 election and that could happen again in Tuesday’s election.

“It really helps because it’s hard to walk to the polling place,” said Sunny Kapp, a Grass Valley resident who said she has voted absentee for the past four years.

More than 30,000 absentee ballots have been issued in Nevada County for Tuesday’s upcoming election, up sharply from 1,920 in 1989. Total voter registration has jumped to 63,166 from 46,180 during the same period.

The increased use of absentee ballots is changing campaign strategies. Instead of a campaign blitz just before Election Day, politicians must now spend an intense month on the campaign trail as voters begin mailing in their ballots early.

For voters, this means enduring campaign literature in the mailbox and recorded campaign messages at dinnertime for a longer period of time than in earlier days.

“There’s certainly a lot more emphasis on that (absentee voting) now than there was 10 years ago,” said Richard Robinson, spokesman for eight-term incumbent John Doolittle (R-Roseville). “We think at the end of the day, we’ll do well with the absentee voters.”

Robinson should know: he’s worked on campaigns for Doolittle since 1990.

This year, Doolittle faces a fiercer challenge from Roseville Democrat and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel Charlie Brown than in the past.

“You certainly have to think about the timeline,” said Brown spokesman Todd Stenhouse. “We really have to make sure we get the message out earlier.”

Nevada County is 43 percent registered Republican. That’s 5 percent less than California’s 4th Congressional District to which it belongs, according to the Nevada County Clerk-Recorder and the California Secretary of State Office.

Democrats make up 32 percent of Nevada County’s voters and another 18 percent are unaffiliated.


To reach Staff Writer Josh Singer, e-mail joshs@theunion .com or call 477-4234.

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