SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Nearly half of San Diego County’s 1.95 million voters have cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 election, the Registrar of Voters reported Thursday, more than double the number received by this point in 2016.
More than 937,000 ballots had been received as of Thursday, according to the registrar’s office. At this point in the 2016 presidential election, the registrar had received 409,702 ballots.
Mail-in ballots were sent to all registered voters in the county on Oct. 5, even those who had not requested one.
Ballots received by the registrar’s office this week should be processed in time for the first release of election night results to be posted shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Voters can return their marked ballot in the pre-paid postage envelope to any U.S. Postal Service office or collection box. The Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa is open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays for those preferring to vote in person.
Voters additionally have the option to drop off their ballot at one of 126 drop-off locations around the county — including dozens of libraries, YMCAs, county offices and The Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park.
Voters also can also cast their ballots at their assigned polling place, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Saturday through next Monday. All polling places will again be open on Election Day, when the voting hours change to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
An in-person voting location tool can be found on the county’s voting website, SDvote.com.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the registrar’s office encourages older adults and people with underlying medical conditions to avoid long lines and crowded polling places by voting early.
Registrar Michael Vu said his office is working with county public health services to ensure the health and safety of election workers and voters. Personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies will be provided to staffers so they can conduct the election process safely.
Voters casting ballots in person are instructed to bring a face mask and plan to maintain social distance.
“We encourage voters to act early and make voting decisions from the comfort and safety of their home,” Vu said. “Mark your ballot, sign, seal and return your mail ballot to a trusted source. The sooner we receive your ballot, the sooner we can start processing it so it will be counted right when the polls close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.”
Locations of vote centers were chosen and configured to allow for queuing and voting while maintaining six feet of social distance. Masks will be required inside, but residents unable or unwilling to wear them will be allowed to vote curbside.
Officials noted that the need to social distance may create longer lines than usual at in-person locations.