Early voting centers see an increase of in-person voters
October 12, 2020
With Election Day less than a month away, voting centers across California are beginning to open for early voting.
The Voters Choice Act, passed in 2016, allows 15 counties in California including some in the Bay Area to mail ballots to each eligible resident, allows residents to vote in any voting center within the county, and allows residents the ability to participate in early, in-person voting.
“I think it’s extremely important to vote this year. I didn’t want to take any chances,” said Linda Sherry, a Los Gatos resident who voted in-person on Oct. 7 despite mailing in her ballot in previous years. Sherry explained that she felt more comfortable knowing her ballot was not tampered with.
Since opening their Registrar of Voting for in person voting on Oct. 5th, Santa Clara County welcomed more than 120 voters on the first day they were open compared to previous years where they have four to five people vote on the first day, according to Division Manager of the Public and Legislative Affairs Evelyn Mendez. Last Wednesday, Mendez reported 300 voters.
San Jose resident Logan Carrington, who also voted on Oct. 7, said he was motivated to vote in-person and explained that he was voting early to avoid any ballot tampering.
“I want to control the narrative of my vote. I want to make sure that you know, we got it in the ballot distribution space, and also that there won’t be any tampering because we know on TV, around the country, there’s been a lot of hoopla around that possibly being a possibility,” Carrington said.
On May 26, President Donald Trump tweeted “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”
President Trump continued to criticize Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to provide mail-in ballots to California voters because of the pandemic, saying, “This will be a rigged election.”
However, Twitter cautioned his tweet with a statement that “experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.”
Speaking on the legitimacy of the mail-in voting, Mendez said that errors in filling out ballots are mostly to blame for their rejections.
“It’s not voter fraud; ballots are getting rejected because voters are forgetting to turn it in on time. They’re not signing it, and they’re not filling it out the way they need to,” she said.
In the event that a ballot is rejected, the voter is reached out to in order to ensure that their ballot is recovered and properly signed.
“Make sure they sign it, absolutely. Sign it on the back of the envelope next to the red X. So make sure they sign it and make sure they put their address,” Mendez said, encouraging those who are voting through mail to take the proper precautions to ensure that their ballot is counted when it’s first sent in.
“If they make a mistake on their ballot just to make sure they don’t make any other identifying marks just put an X on it and then you know, Mark what they intended to mark. They can go to where’s my ballot, SOS ca.gov. And it tracks the ballot every step of the way.”
Workers at the Santa Clara Registrar of Voter separated the polling booths to be socially distant, sanitized the areas after voter use, and provided sanitizing equipment for voters due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 and in-person voting.