By the end of the week, the Santa Barbara County Elections Division had already received 469 green envelopes from early voters returning their mail-in ballots after 141,000 dropped on Tuesday, said Joe Holland, the county’s Registrar of Voters. (The post office celebrated Columbus Day by takingMonday off.) And the state has been experiencing a surge of voter registration from Facebook callouts and a National Voter Registration Day push on September 27. About 372,000 people, half of them younger than 35, registered or re-registered in a five-day period compared to an average of 9,000 a day in previous years, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Early ballots are counted starting about nine days before the election, said Gennady Utkin with the county Elections Office. They also allow the county’s paper-and-pen ballot system and automated tally scanners to send out preliminary results fairly quickly on election night.
October 24 is the deadline for new voters to register, either online or on paper — forms can be found at post offices, libraries, DMVs, and election offices — and also for voters who need to change their name, address, signature, or party affiliation by re-registering. The state verifies voter information with counties, which can take a couple of weeks, so don’t delay if you plan to register or change your voter information. To find the right polling place, check online here, or contact the Elections Office at (805) 568-2200.
For those who need help getting to the polls on November 8, Easy-Lift offers free transportation. A county service for frail seniors and people with disabilities, Easy-Lift is taking reservations for Election Day rides; just call (805) 681-1181 before November 7.
Every vote counts, so be sure to vote!