The Sacramento County election's office recently began sending out vote-by-mail ballots, and hundreds are already returned - as undeliverable mail.
The rising count of returned ballots - expected to reach about 15,000 for the Nov. 2 election - is adding to the county's red ink.
Each ballot costs about $1.50 to produce and mail. If you do the arithmetic, you see how costs add up: $22,500, perhaps more.
It doesn't seem like a lot of money, but every penny counts as government agencies look to find savings.
"That's less money needed from the county's general fund," said Brad Buyse, local elections spokesman. The general fund is the pool of money the county uses to pay for county services.
Most of the returned mail stems from voters failing to notify the agency of a change of address.
"People need to keep their registration information up to date, " said Alice Jarboe, assistant registrar.
As of Thursday, about 1,800 ballots had been sent back to the county's election headquarters on 65th Street in south Sacramento.
To see if your registration is current, call (916) 875-6451 or see: http://www.elections.saccounty.net
The deadline to register to vote or change your address is Monday.
- Bobby Caina Calvan