After Sacramento County mailed ballots to all registered voters this month, about 21,000 voters have turned them in so far, according to Karen Startup, the county's campaign services manager.
The county could not provide comparable figures from previous elections to say how that pace compares to past elections in which fewer voters received ballots in the mail. But Startup said anecdotally the county has received more ballots than before at this stage.
Sacramento County is among the first five California counties to test the new approach. In past years, only voters who requested a mail ballot, either permanently or for a particular election, received one in advance.
This time, all voters in the county should have received a ballot via mail - more than 742,000 as of the last registration report. For now, they can mail their ballots back or submit them at drop box locations at libraries and other community locations.
Starting May 26, the county will open vote centers at dozens of locations that will accept ballots. On June 2, additional vote centers will become available. These vote centers replace the traditional polling places.
While voters may no longer have their usual polling place within walking distance, they have more ways to submit their ballot before Election Day. County and state officials believe the new system - which could eventually become standard statewide - will increase participation.