Northern California counties encourage voter registration six weeks out from Election Day

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The election is just six weeks away and counties are working to ensure you can cast your vote safely and securely.

In honor of National Voter Registration Day, election officials from several counties held a news conference at the Golden 1 Center to encourage registration.

“We’ll have over 100 voting booths here. We’ll have all the PPE set up as well,” said Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Courtney Bailey-Kanelos. 

Bailey-Kanelos told FOX40 Tuesday the Golden 1 Center is one of 84 in-person election locations in the county and several are opening for early voting.

“This arena opens on October 24th,” Bailey-Kanelos explained. “We encourage voters to vote early because if you do wait until Election Day, there will be lines.”

Social distancing will be enforced, which may impact voting lines. Ballot boxes will be spaced out with limits on how many people enter polling locations at the same time.

“We are going to be offering plenty of PPE, including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to all of our locations. Also, we will have plastic protective barriers,” Bailey-Kanelos said.

But she said the safest way to vote is by mail. That is why California is sending ballots to every eligible registered voter across the state.

El Dorado County Registrar of Voters Bill O’Neill told FOX40 they’re well-prepared since mail-in voting is nothing new for the region.

“Eighty percent of our voters were getting a ballot by mail over the last couple of years already,” O’Neill explained.

And he said there are safeguards in place to ensure people aren’t voting more than once.

“We have systems in our vote centers that are real-time connected to our voter registration system. So, as soon as someone’s ballot is returned, we know immediately in our system that they returned that ballot,” O’Neill said.

He said it’s on a first-come basis. Whichever ballot they receive first is the one that’s counted, as long as the signature on it can be verified.

For voters who are worried about sending that ballot in the mail, there is another option. There will be drop boxes in every county for voters to simply drop off their ballot.

“The vote takes precedence over everything,” O’Neill said.

The voting sites are strongly encouraging mask wearing but they can’t require it.

In El Dorado County, they’re offering a drive-up option for people who won’t wear a face covering while Sacramento County said it’ll step up distancing and sanitation for those who refuse.

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