New measures aim to keep early voters safe from COVID-19

Presidential Election 2020

SAN DIEGO — Early voting started in San Diego County Monday, 28 days before Election Day. Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said his office started making adjustments in March for how the 2020 presidential election would go during a global pandemic. 

“We’re offering gloves as well as masks if individuals forget. They will hand sanitize before they touch any of the clipboards and pens that we may reuse,” Vu said.

While 78% of San Diego voters do so by mail, for the next four weeks the registrar’s Kearny Mesa headquarters is a one-stop shop for those who still want to vote in person. You can also register, pick up or drop off your ballot.

“We’re doing everything outside for the most part, as much as we can before people go inside. We don’t want any level of crowding,” Vu said.

New markers spaced 6-feet apart show voters where to stand. Once inside, you’re guided to plexiglass covered windows with cleaning personnel everywhere. It’s all an effort to provide a touchless environment as much as possible except for the new electronic touchscreen voting machines. 

“Our capacity isn’t the same as we’ve had in prior elections because of social distancing. Voting booths need to be further apart,” Vu said. “We want voters to recognize that and consider voting early and making sure we are spreading it across these 29 days.”

Vu is hoping most people will stay home and vote by mail. Every registered voter, including 1.9 million San Diegans, should receive a ballot in the mail this week. 

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