SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The presidential election is less than two months away and local counties are encouraging voters to turn in their mail-in ballots sooner rather than later.
Ryan Ronco, registrar of voters for Placer County, said every voter in the county should expect to receive their vote-by-mail ballot no later than October 15. He said voters will still be able to vote in-person at select locations in the county. Here's what else Ronco had to say about this year's election.
How will voting this year be different from previous years?
In some ways it won't be different at all. In Placer County, nearly 80% of our voters are signed up as permanent vote-by-mail voters already. So for those voters, that experience isn't going to be much different. But for voters who prefer to vote in a traditional polling place, those voters will go to the voter service center that they choose and they will vote on a touch screen voting device, which will print a paper ballot. So that will feel a little different to those voters because they're used to going in to signing a roster and getting a ballot handed to them.
What sort of safety measures are being put in place for people who choose to go to voting centers?
Obviously, we have to be cognizant of the fact that the pandemic is ongoing. We have plans in place to make sure we have equipment available, not only for our poll workers but also voters, at the voting service centers. Our workers will have masks, they'll have face shields. We'll be disinfecting the vote center regularly. We'll be wiping down the touch screens after each use. We'll have single-use pens that we'll give to the voters.
This year, voting service centers open up the Saturday before Election Day and will be open each day through Tuesday, Election Day. There are four days of in-person voting. In Placer County, we would encourage people to consider coming in Saturday, Sunday or Monday because lines could be very long on Election Day, given the face that we'll have fewer locations and social distancing.
Should people be concerned about their vote-by-mail ballot not being counted?
Vote-by-mail voting is safe, secure and it's very transparent. It's not wrought with fraud like people might be fearing. What we have here in Placer County is a very transparent system where if voters want to actually come to our office and see the process for themselves and watch how we verify those signatures, they're invited to come by...so they can feel satisfied that we're employing all the proper protocols to make sure there's no voter fraud. Every vote-by-mail ballot that comes to a county registrar, it's required that we check the signature on the outside of that vote-by-mail envelope against that voter's signature on the voter's registration materials. Before we can open that envelope and withdraw the ballot, that verification must be made. If the signature doesn't match, we're not allowed to open and count that ballot.
Voting is the fundamental right of every American citizen, but the 2020 election is surfacing questions about how exactly the system is working to ensure your vote.