Presidential Election 2020
What A COVID-19 Election Will Be in November
Last updated 8/17/2020 at 2:45pm
Are you worried about voting in November? How will you be safe? Will there actually be a polling place in Borrego? If so, how can poll workers and voters be safe? These questions have been swirling around in my head for some time and I had some concerns. I worked the local polling place for the past four elections.
Fortunately for us, we have Michael Vu as San Diego County Registrar. He took time to explain how San Diego County voters will cast their votes in November. He and his team have walked through every step of the voting process and are ready to roll it out in August.
California has been a vote-by-mail state since the General Election of 1962. It was not until the 2012 election where over 50% of ballots cast were mail-in ballots. The last election in March 2020, 72% of the ballots were mail-in ballots. Clearly, Californians are comfortable with the mail-in ballot process.
Shortly after the March California presidential primary election when COVID-19 protection steps were just getting started, Governor Newsom issued two Executive Orders that addressed safe voting (N-64-20 and N-68-20). These two orders gave Vu and other California County Registrars direction and options to ensure a safe and legitimate election. For San Diego County, voters can expect the following:
- Every active registered voter will be mailed a ballot that can either be mailed back (no stamp required, return envelopes are prepaid), dropped off at a mail ballot drop off location or at the polling place. Bonus is that you will receive your "I Voted" sticker too.
- Polling places will be heavily consolidated. To balance the fewer number of physical sites, the voting location has gone from being open for one day to four days.
- Each site will be larger in space to vote with more poll workers to help assist voters. The Registrar of Voters is adhering to the County's public health orders and will make reasonable accommodations when needed to ensure the health and safety of all poll workers and voters.
- If you mess up your ballot or don't have a ballot, that's okay. All San Diego County polling places will have access to your mail ballot's status so you can receive a replacement ballot should you need one. The likelihood of having to cast a provisional ballot because you don't have your mail ballot in hand to surrender will also be reduced. Minimal handling of paper will occur between voter and poll worker.
- You can now track your ballot every step of the way by signing up for "Where's My Ballot?" Sign up at http://www.SDVote.com to receive notifications.
Borrego Springs will have its own local polling place. It will not be at the Methodist Church. The room required to handle the election will either be at the local library or high school gym. The room needs to be that large. As many as 15 poll workers per site will be working as a team. They will be hired as employees for the short time, but will be required to be trained as a team (which will be two days), and work all four days (Oct. 31, Nov. 1, 2, and 3).
It is important for every eligible California voter to get to vote in a safe, secure, and accessible manner. The safest way for this election is to get your ballot in the mail. Personally speaking from working the local poll for the past four elections, some Borrego voters were registered as mail-in ballots and they did not receive their ballots by mail. The easy answer was their street address was the mailing address. Vu ran the numbers and found 1,806 active voters in zip code 92004 (as July 14). Out of those, 1,489 have P.O. Boxes which means 317 do not.
Are you one of those registered voters whose mailing address is not correct? An easy fix is to log onto http://www.SDVote.com and look up your record. You can then correct your voting information by re-registering online. It takes all of two minutes. Another way to ensure your voting registration is up to date is to complete the paper form which is in our local Post Office general area or lobby and mail it in.
If you are age 18 or older by Nov. 3, you may be eligible to vote. If you reside in San Diego County, please either log on to http://www.SDVote.com or pick up the Voter Registration form at a post office.
If you are interested in working as a poll worker, you can inquire online at http://www.SDVote.com. Vu stated that rural communities will get a polling place and a mail ballot drop off location. It will be safe in Borrego Springs to drop your ballot off at the polling place. Even safer if you mail it.
The San Diego County of Registrar is mailing out their first mailings to every registered voter in August to inform them of the upcoming election changes. Please, don't treat it as junk mail. Read it. Make sure your mailing address is correct. If you don't receive that August mailing, log onto http://www.SDVote.com and find out why.
Vote Safer San Diego. Your vote counts. Make sure it gets counted.