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Election officials 'fast and furious' as recall plans condense a year of prep into 70 days

"Normally at this time of the year we'd already be preparing for our June Primary in 2022."

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — Less than a year ago, the world waited with baited breath for the results of the 2020 presidential election

Now, just 10 months later, California is back in election season. And while it may feel all to familiar, this special election is one of few and far between.

"We have not had a gubernatorial recall since 2003," said Sacramento County spokesperson Janna Haynes. "That's the only one we've had in the history of California."

18 years later, Sacramento County is prepping for our state's second recall election. 

"Normally at this time of the year, we'd already be preparing for our June Primary in 2022," Haynes said. "So, we are working fast and furious."

Compared to a general election, California election's offices have had a very short time to prepare since the recall was announced. Haynes said they traditionally take more than a year for election prep, but for this recall, they have 70 days.

Between preparing ballots, filler pages, envelopes, voter files and logistics, it's a heavy lift. But the two things that are making it simpler for Sacramento's Elections Office is that there will only be around 30 in-person vote centers compared to the 84 last November. That means less staff and overall workflow for elections officials.

RELATED: Gavin Newsom report card: What he's done and what he hasn't as California's governor

The other more simplistic item for elections officials is the ballot itself. Compared to past elections with multiple measures, it's basically asking voters one simple question: recall Governor Newsom or not?

"We only have to run one piece of paper through the tabulator," Haynes said. "Versus most ballots have two, maybe three pages -- which takes three times as long."

Otherwise, the voting and tabulation process will be identical to past elections, including ballots being mailed to all registered voters not just in Sacramento County but statewide.

"August 16 is the date the ballots go out and ballot drop boxes open [in Sacramento County]," Haynes said.

Voters can mail back their ballot, drop it off in a drop box or vote in person.

"Our 11-day vote centers will open on Sept. 4, and then the remainder of them will open Sept. 11 all the way through Sept. 14 which is recall election day," Haynes said.

Currently, Sacramento County has 867,723 registered voters. Haynes said they anticipate that number will likely increase as we near election day. 

To check your voter registration status, update an address or register to vote, you can do this all on the California Secretary of State's website. In order to receive a ballot by mail, you must be registered to vote by August 30. 

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