Senate OKs plan to improve voter turnout through test distribution of vote-by-mail ballots in L.A. County

Sen. Bob Hertzberg seeks to boost civic participation

June 3, 2015

SACRAMENTO – In an effort to improve turnout, all registered voters in Los Angeles County would receive vote-by-mail ballots under a Sen. Bob Hertzberg bill that today received Senate approval.

“We must do everything possible to improve voter turnout,” Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said after the Senate approved Senate Bill 163. “It is simply good government to ensure every registered voter possible has an easy choice between either voting by mail or voting at their neighborhood polling place.”
If signed into law, county election officials in Los Angeles would provide all registered voters with mail-in ballots during any single election of their choosing between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2018, and then analyze turnout results.

Last year, for example, Los Angeles County had a voter turnout of 31 percent, 11 percent less than the statewide average. Hertzberg cited many reasons for voting-rate declines, including poverty, frequent changes in residence and lower permanent absentee-voter rates in some areas, particularly in Los Angeles.  

SB 163 seeks to reverse that trend by ensuring every registered voter in L.A. County receives a vote-by-mail-, or “absentee,” ballot prior to an established statewide election. Voters would still have the option of voting in person at their designated polling location.

Supporters of SB 163 include California Professional Firefighters; SEIU California; the California Conference of the NAACP; Sierra Club California; the Stonewall Democratic Club; and the City of West Hollywood.

“For many working Californians, carving time out of a busy work schedule to vote can be a challenge,” Hertzberg said. “Californians should not have to sacrifice their right to vote because they work or have to commute or need to take care of their children and can’t make it to their polling place. Having that mail-in ballot at the ready can only improve our embarrassingly low voter-turnout rates.”


For more, visit Hertzberg’s Web site at the address below.
Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map HERE or at  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. More HERE or at

Photo by Lorie Shelley

Communications Director
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Senate District 18
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4018 office; 916 834-1128 cell; or