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Voting By Mail

By Debra Porter, Registrar of Voters

October 9, 2018

Voting-by-Mail, also referred to as “absentee voting”, has become a popular trend in recent elections.  From a voter’s perspective, voting-by-mail is a very convenient way to cast your vote.  Voters have the ability to spend more time analyzing their choices on elected officials and various ballot measures they are considering. 

There are three types of vote-by-mail voters:

  • Voters that live in precincts with 250 or fewer registered voters are automatically considered vote-by-mail.   A precinct is an area into which a city or town is divided for voting. 
  • A voter, who is assigned to a polling place but decides to receive their ballot by mail for all elections, is considered a permanent vote-by-mail voter.  
  • A voter, who is assigned to a polling place but requests a ballot to be mailed to them for one election only. 

Vote-by-Mail ballots will begin to be mailed 29 days prior to Election Day.   Normally, October 8th would mark 29 days; however, this day is considered a federal Columbus Day holiday.  Therefore, the Registrar of Voters’ staff began distribution of vote-by-mail ballots on October 9th.  

Voters are encouraged to return completed vote-by-mail ballots as soon as possible to assist with the tallying process.  For convenience, there are several valley-wide options for voters to return their ballots. 

Election officials have scheduled drop-off locations at city hall facilities in Brawley, Calexico, Calipatria, El Centro, Holtville and Imperial along with the Salton Community Service District for two weeks prior to Election Day.  For a complete schedule of city drop-off locations visit the Registrar of Voters webpage at www.co.imperial.ca.us/regvoters

Beginning on October 20th, the Mobile Voting Unit will travel to various locations around Imperial County giving all registered voters the opportunity to cast their ballots early for the November 6th Election.  New this year, in addition to other locations, the Mobile Voting Unit is scheduled to be at two community events, Imperial Market Days on October 20th and the Brawley Chili Cook-off on November 3rd.  

Vote-by-Mail voters may also drop-off their completed ballots at any of the Mobile Voting locations.  A complete list of locations and times for the Mobile Voting Unit can also be found at the Registrar of Voters webpage – www.co.imperial.ca.us/regvoters.  

During normal office hours, the Registrar of Voters’ Office will accept walk-in voters delivering vote-by-mail ballots to their office located on the second floor of the County Administrative Center at 940 West Main Street in El Centro.  

Once received, Registrar of Voters officials verify signatures located on the returned vote-by-mail ballot envelopes.  At 10-days prior to Election Day, officials begin opening verified envelopes as part of the tallying process.  All ballot cards are reviewed for tears, spills, tape, etc.  Once verified of any discretion, officials process each vote-by-mail ballot counting all votes.  

The first round of election results is expected to be released after polls have closed at 8:00 p.m. on Election Night.   These initial results will include all vote-by-mail ballots received before November 3rd.  Any ballots received after this date will be represented in future election reports. 

Vote-by-Mail voters are encouraged to complete and submit their ballots prior to November 3rd to ensure their votes are included in the first round of reporting. 

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