Local Government

New Voting Systems Mean Big Change

In March, I was recruited to work as a poll worker at the Third District Supervisory Special Election in the city of Orange, where the position of Third District Supervisor was left vacant by the new District Attorney.

Voter turnout was reasonably high considering it was a special election, and almost everyone was pleasant.  Like previous elections, many complained they didn’t register as vote-by-mail voters.  Some surrendered their ballots to vote in person and others had to vote provisionally because they didn’t have their ballots with them.

My inspector informed them that beginning with the March 2020 Primary Election, all eligible voters will automatically be vote-by-mail voters. Starting then voters can cast their ballots by mail or in person at a Vote Center, and these centers will be open from 4 to 10 days prior to the Election Day!

Why Vote Center?

The passage of Senate Bill 450 (California Voter’s Choice Act) in 2016, effective 2020, authorized counties including Orange County to conduct “Vote Center” elections.

Instead of having about 1000 polling places, we will have 180 vote centers next year, potentially in time for the Presidential Primary Election in March 2020.

Vote centers will be open 10 day before Election Day and also can process voters to register and vote on the same day.  In other words, the vote centers are not only polling places, but also service centers.
Advantages of vote center as compared to traditional polling place are many, for instance:

1) Each voter registered in Orange County can cast his or her ballot at any Orange County Vote Center.
2) Vote Centers open their doors 10 days before Election Day and include weekends.
3) Vote centers are more secure than polling places.
4) Electronic poll books (Voter Roster) will provide real-time voter data.
5) The greatest advantage of the Vote Center model is saving taxpayer’s money on purchasing new voting equipment for 180 Vote Centers vs. 1000 Polling Places.

In addition to Vote Centers, vote-by-mail drop-off boxes with security features will be available throughout the county.

Categories: Local Government

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