In-person early voting has begun at the San Diego Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa. Photo by Chris Stone

More than 10 million eligible California voters never vote or only sometimes vote in elections according to a survey released this week.

According to the data, about 2.8 million eligible voters in California never vote in national, state or local elections, and 7.7 million only vote on occasion.

The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) is released each year after interviews with over 20,000 Californians on a range of topics. It comes this year even as public officials indicate that voters are flocking to the polls early.

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, which conducted the survey, included a related fact sheet that shows that voting habits vary by type of election, race and ethnicity.

Researchers determined that Asian and Latino eligible voters were the least likely to vote in local elections – 62% of Asians and 61% of Latinos said they “never” or “sometimes” vote in those elections.

Infrequent voting was highest, 76%, among those who identified as “other Central American.” That category includes Costa Ricans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Panamanians and Belizeans.

Those who identified as Chinese also had high numbers of infrequent voters, at 70%. Meanwhile, 53% of Filipinos and 51% of South Americans said they vote infrequently in local elections.

Researchers asked why responders choose not to vote in local elections, and 21% cited not being informed; 20% also said they forget to vote or do not think about it.

For those who responded they “never” or “sometimes” vote in presidential elections, 28% said it was because they dislike politics or political candidates.

“While the most recent CHIS data showed that Asians and Latinos were less likely than other groups to vote, the extent of variation within these ethnic groups was considerable and indicates that disaggregating racial or ethnic groups reveals important differences when it comes to voting,” said Susan Babey, a senior research scientist at the center.

– City News Service

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