NATOMAS (CBS13) – Vote-by-mail for the California primary is underway, but new research shows a bleak picture.

So far, about 10 percent of voters returned their ballots, according to Political Data Intelligence which monitors vote-by-mail.

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A little more than two million have been returned to date after the state sent nearly 22 million voting ballots to people’s homes.

Some voters say election season is far from their minds as they contend with rising inflation, energy costs and public safety.

In 2018 and 2020, primary turnout was 28 percent 37 percent, respectively.

“Can I tell you, don’t despair,” said Carol Moon Goldberg, president of the League of Women Voters in California. “People do not hone in on elections until Friday, Saturday [and] Sunday before actual Election Day.”

The voting rights group is offering voters information featured in multiple languages while explaining office positions, who’s financing campaigns and how to return mail-in ballots.

Recent headlines of overturning Roe v. Wade and mass shootings saw people gather at rallies and vigils.

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But will that energy transfer into a vote?

Political experts say, sometimes.

“I do think that with everything going on in our country will bring maybe some additional people into the fold,” said Mindy Romero, a political sociologist at the University of Southern California.

In some cases, first-time voters emerge.

Marybeth Jackson said the last election left her feeling dissatisfied.  The mother believed her vote did not count until results came in.

“But then I realized that after the last election if everyone else thinks like that too, then we have a problem,” Jackson said.

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She is now a registered voter.

Shawnte Passmore