Designated locations will accept ballots through November 3
By Anna Daniels
If you haven’t already mailed your vote by mail ballot, you still have a number of options to make sure your vote is counted in this election. This year, the County of San Diego has designated 14 drop-off locations. Here in the city of San Diego there are 3 locations– Pacific Beach Library, North Park Library and the Registrar of Voters. These locations, with the exception of the Registrar of Voters, are not early voting locations. You can only drop off your ballot during the location’s regular business hours.
Why has the county made this option available? Registrar Michael Vu cites the rise in the number of voters who opt to vote by mail. This will decrease the high volume of voters who drop off their mail ballots on election day at polling places. He adds that this is also a way for the County Registrar of Voters to expand its services. And you will still receive your “I voted” sticker.
Meantime, early voting is already underway at the Registrar’s new location at 5600 Overland Ave., San Diego, 92123. Voters can cast their ballots there from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Election Day when the voting hours will change to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to reflect the hours at the polls, or between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 2.
Improving voter turnout in California
You may have glossed over Registrar Vu’s remark that these drop off mail ballot locations are a way to expand the Registrar’s services and to actually encourage voter participation. This official attitude is a stark contrast to all those states which are implementing restrictions on voter participation by eliminating early voting, Sunday voting, voting on college campuses, as well as implementing voter ID requirements that are the equivalent of poll taxes.
California in general and San Diego County specifically have implemented ways to encourage voter participation, including registering to vote online, the provision of mail in ballots to anyone who requests one and now these drop off locations. We shouldn’t assume however that we are magically immunized to the voter suppression efforts that we have seen in other states.
The Voter Integrity Project, which has a San Diego presence and a right wing bent despite non-partisan posturings, has mail- in ballots in their cross hairs. They state in their multi-part series on the subject that a “it is of great concern that the percentage of Californians registered as permanent vote-by-mail voters is now over 50% and growing.”
The fact that it is no longer a majority of Republicans taking advantage of early voting may be what has set off the Voter Integrity Project. They intend to be observers at the polls and the Registrar’s office again this year, so it’s good to know what their beef is with early (by mail) voting:
EIP research has uncovered coordinated efforts to duplicate voters’ registrations, changing mailing addresses of voters and re-registering in-person voters to vote-by-mail voters. The voters whose mailing addresses are altered in the records will not be the ones to receive the ballots intended for them, and unless they are vigilant and report a missing ballot in time, their vote will almost certainly be stolen.
If this sounds like paranoia, it’s because it is. Keep your eye on the poll observers. And vote.
For additional election information, call (858) 565-5800 or visit sdvote.com.