The November 3 municipal election will be the first in which all the ballots will be distributed by mail. There will still be polling places open, but everyone will receive their ballots by mail, whether or not they have registered as absentee (also known as vote-by-mail) voters.
City staff estimated that the change will save $50,000. An increasing number of voters have cast their ballots by mail over the past two decades, and 66.5 percent of Santa Barbara voters did so during the city’s last elections, in November 2007, according to a report by City Clerk Services Manager Cynthia Rodriguez.
The vote-by-mail election will allow a longer window of time in which to cast ballots, as City Hall will be open for ballot-casting from October 5 through November 2, during its regular business hours.
For voters who don’t prefer to mail their ballots back, or who aren’t sure they will be received by November 3, seven polling places will be open on Election Day and also on the previous Saturday. However, voters have to bring their own ballots or else cast special “provisional” ballots provided by poll workers, which will take longer to be counted. The voting centers are City Gall, Bethany Church, Pilgrim Terrace Homes, Holy Cross Church, the Franklin Community Center, Cleveland School, and the Braille Institute. Voters can go to any one they like.
Ballots go out on October 5, with prepaid return postage as well as instructions.