This week has seen a ton of criticism -- including on this site -- of Democrats and their labor supporters for pushing an effort to pile up all ballot initiatives and referenda on next November's ballot (because initiatives they don't like might have a better chance on the June primary ballot).
That controversy, however, has obscured another partisan Democratic manuever that is good for California, and especially Los Angeles.
The state Democratic party is making a serious push to increase voting by mail in Los Angeles.
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For the party, this is a way of getting more people to the polls in a Democratic region. But the push is also important for the goal of boosting voter participation.
LA lags badly behind the rest of the state in voting. One factor is that the county has not adopted the aggresive use of mail balloting that the rest of the state has. The statewide percentage of ballots cast by mail is above 50 percent. In LA, it's 30 percent.
A Capitol Weekly story looks at some of the reasons for this, including the high cost, in money and manpower of reaching voters by mail in a county of more than 10 million people, and bureaucratic resistance among local election officials.
Other explanations have been our diversity (voter participation has tended to be highest in the state's most homogenous counties) and the fact that we Angelenos are too busy looking good to vote in state elections that don't matter all that much (my own theory).
Whatever the motives, the investment of money in boosting participation in Los Angeles qualifies as good news.