Unlike Texas politicians, our leaders don't suppress the vote intentionally, but Californians needn't feel as superior as we do on this issue.
A close look reveals that we don't need voter-suppressing laws to limit participation.
Here, unconscionable numbers of people make that decision on their own by not taking the time to vote.
In the June primary, only 25% of the state's 17.7 million registered voters cast ballots. Turnout for the Nov. 4 election is predicted to be about 45%, and it might be even lower.
Even when they do take the time to fill out ballots, their vote too often ends up not being counted because of the state's outdated voting system and a secretary of state who has been less than engaged.
UC Davis researcher Mindy Romero has presented data showing that 2.9% of vote-by-mail ballots cast in the June primary went uncounted. That amounted to 91,000 ballots. In the 2012 election, 1% of mailed-in ballots went uncounted. That equated to 69,000 ballots.
Officials in blue California would never think to suppress the vote. They're much too progressive for that. But the rate of vote-by-mail ballots that don't get counted is higher in California than in any other state, says the Pew Center on the States' Election Performance.
The problem of uncounted mail ballots is particularly perplexing because more than half of the electorate in California chooses to vote by mail, 51% in November 2012, and 69% in June.
In her latest report, Kim Alexander, head of the California Voter Foundation, details why vote-by-mail ballots aren't counted: The signature on the envelope doesn't match closely enough the signature on file with the elections office; the voter neglects to sign the envelopes; or the ballots are mailed in too late.
Few counties bother to inform the voters that their votes weren't counted. Disenfranchised voters may make the same mistakes year after year.
Voter education matters. A 2011 survey found that many people don't realize that they are not obligated to vote on all races for their ballots to be counted.
On Nov. 4, voters will pick Alex Padilla or Pete Peterson as the next secretary of state, replacing termed-out Debra Bowen.
Whoever wins ought to pledge to make voting more convenient by opening polls on Saturdays and Sundays to accommodate working people who have a hard time getting to the polls on workdays. And they should promise to make sure that every vote legally cast is counted.