I picked this up from the CDP:
The California Journal of Politics & Policy (UC Berkeley) just put out an Abstract from Field Poll’s Mark DiCamillo about Mail Ballot Voting.
It is a good summary, available at: http://www.bepress.com/cjpp/vol1/iss1/10/
Both Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson vetoed the PAV (Permanent Absentee Vote) bills, which gave the option to voters to sign up for a permanent mail ballot. Governor Gray Davis signed a PAV bill, as well as a Speaker Bob Hertzberg bill moving the voter registration deadline from 29 days to 15 days.
Both of these opened up the voting process to more voters and subsequently helped Democrats. Everyone knew why the Republicans were against expanding access to U.S. citizens to voting and thus the two Governor vetoes.
Republicans in California feared more Californian voters. We welcomed them.
As DiCamillo reports, 5.7 million Californians voted by mail.
We just ran the voter file of those who voted on November 4, 2008. Not every voter is coded on the voter file correctly by the counties - precinct or mail, so the voter file numbers are not 100%, but here they are:
Total PAV - 5,891,435
Total PAV Voted - 5,176,755 (87.9%)
Democratic PAV - 2,221,614 (88.6%)
Republican PAV -1,927,966 (89.4%)
Thus, Democrats beat the Republicans in the PAV “actually voting” category by 293,648 ballots.
Under the previous Registrar of Voters, LA County did not emphasize PAV so that’s why LA County has a lower percent of PAVs, but that will change and give Democrats an even bigger margin.