Election day may be nearly a month off, but U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer wasn’t confused, or cheating, when she went to the polls on Tuesday to vote (presumably for herself). The three-term Democrat was just following what has become something of a time-honored practice for many Californians: early voting.
In fact, more than 41 percent of California voters voted by mail, or absentee, during the 2008 general election, a number that has risen nearly every year since the 1978, and Boxer’s camp says the Senator — who is facing the toughest reelection fight of her career against former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – was using it as a tool to increase voter participation.
Boxer, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, lives with her husband in Rancho Mirage, California, near Palm Springs, and cast her ballot at the Riverside County Registrar’s Office.
“Its an opportunity to remind voters that there’s still time to register to vote,” Boxer spokesman Dan Newman told Reuters.
The trend toward early voting, once a practice mostly of seniors and Californians with difficulty getting to polls, has in recent years changed the electoral landscape in the Golden State, forcing candidates to get their message out earlier. Those who husband their war chests until after Labor Day risk losing voters who make up their minds much earlier and mail in their ballots in early October.