With less than a week to go before the 2020 Presidential General Election, voters in San Joaquin County are enthusiastically exercising their right to vote early and decisively. Residents are voting by mail in overwhelming numbers throughout San Joaquin County.
The latest tabulation from the Registrar of Voters (ROV) showed that as of Octo. 25, approximately 81,900 ballots, or 22 percent of all registered voters, have already been returned. Of those, nearly three-quarters (58,000) were mailed in. Over a quarter (22,700) of the ballots have been returned through drop boxes. An additional 1,200 ballots were dropped off in-person at the ROV office.
“We know the pandemic was a big factor in voters choosing to vote-by-mail rather than going to a polling place to vote in-person,” said San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters Melinda Dubroff. “California also made it easier for voters to return their ballots through the mail or to a drop box by automatically sending all registered voters a vote-by-mail ballot instead of by voter request. But even so, the record numbers we’re seeing clearly tell the story about how excited and motivated people are about exercising their right to vote.
“Twenty-two percent of the 365,081 registered voters in San Joaquin County have already returned their ballots as of this past weekend. During the March Primary Election, 34 percent of voters in total used Vote-by-Mail by Election Day, and we are on track to surpass that number during the General Election. Broken down by age groups, 44 percent of voters who are 75 and older have already cast their ballots, compared to less than 12 percent of voters age 25-34 and age 18-24. Although, at this point in the March Primary Election, it is noteworthy that only 3.8 percent of voters under the age of 25 had cast a ballot,” added Dubroff.
Vote by Mail ballots can be placed in a mailbox, at a Post Office location or at one of the county’s 34 Voter Service Centers or 28 drop box sites. Strand Ace Hardware on McHenry Avenue in Escalon and the Circle K along Escalon-Bellota Road in Farmington are local drop box locations. The Escalon Community Center, 1055 Escalon Ave., is the local Voter Service Center, open for voters from Saturday, Oct. 31 through Monday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Election Day, Nov. 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Locally, there is a three-way race for a seat available on the Escalon Fire Board, with incumbent Josh Cummings being challenged by retired Battalion Chief Terry Pinheiro and firefighter/paramedic Mark Paulsen. Incumbent Laura Catrina was unopposed in her bid to fill out the remaining two years of an unexpired term on the fire board.
Other races of note for local voters include the District 10 Congressional race pitting incumbent Josh Harder against challenger Ted Howze; incumbent State Assemblyman Heath Flora facing a challenge from Paul Akinjo in the 12th Assembly District.
Escalon City Council and Escalon School Board races are not on the ballot, as Jeff Laugero and David Bellinger were the only two filing for the two available council seats, and Nick Caton and Martha Coelho were unopposed in their bids to return to their seats on the school board.
If returning a ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 3 and received by the County elections office by Nov. 20.
If returning a ballot in-person or dropping it in a drop box, it must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Anyone may return a ballot for a registered voter, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis. In order for a person’s ballot to be counted, the voter must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of the ballot envelope.
“San Joaquin County is absolutely committed to making sure every voter is able to cast their ballot in a safe environment. Voters can read about our Public Health Protocols to feel confident about voting in person. Equally as important, we make sure that every legitimate ballot is secure and counted,” concluded Dubroff.