A mail-in ballot could save the city as much as $1 million to $1.5 million on the cost of the July 26 special election for mayor, according to a report published by City Clerk Charles G. Abdelnour.
In a May 20 memo from Mayor Dick Murphy to the San Diego City Council, Murphy urged council members to “give this procedure careful consideration.”
Murphy, who is resigning effective July 15, has scheduled the matter for the May 24 City Council session.
According to the report, a “go to the polls” election would cost the city nearly $3 million, mostly from precinct operation costs, such as poll worker recruitment, training and compensation; setup, equipment and supplies for more than 700 polling places in the city; and troubleshooters. A mail election would be conducted in the same manner as absentee ballots, said the report. Of the approximately 600,000 registered voters, about 110,000 are already permanent absentee voters. Under this system, all voters would receive a mail-ballot package, including a voter-information pamphlet with instructions, an official ballot and a postage-paid return envelope.
Voters also would be able to vote in person at the registrar of voters from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays, from June 27 through election day.
According to the city clerk’s office, all ballots would be counted within the week following election day, with daily updates following July 26.
Abdelnour said that he pioneered the all-mail ballot in 1981, a single-ballot issue on the question of building the new convention center.
“Under my direction, a variety of agencies came together for the first time to conduct this unique and cost-saving experience,” said Abdelnour in his report. “This experience proved to be a model as a new methodology in the democratic process.”