SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Early voting is expected to hit an all-time high in the June 3rd primary election with the vote-by-mail option dramatically gaining in popularity over the last decade. One political analyst says it also means candidates must start their campaigns even earlier.

In 2002, 26 percent of voters did so by absentee ballot. That number is expected to almost triple by the June primary, according to KCBS Political Analyst Larry Gerston, who’s also a professor at San Jose State University.

“We expect that by election day, as many as two-thirds who intend to vote will have actually cast their ballot. Going into the ballot booth that day will be a fairly lonely experience, Gerston said.

While voting by mail is probably more convenient, he added that it does have its potential downsides.

“Imagine if Leland Yee’s issues came about four or five weeks later and people had already voted for Secretary of State (the office that he was pursuing). They can’t get that vote back. It’s over, so there is something of a risk,” he said.

Voting in the upcoming primary can begin as early as May 5th.