How will voting look like in Santa Clara County amid COVID-19?

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) —  On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters held a demonstration on how voting will look like this year as the county attempts to ensure a safe election for county voters amid COVID-19. 

A new voting model focuses on encouraging voters to vote safe and to vote from home — county voters have the option to choose when, where and how they vote through the Voter’s Choice Act. 

“We really want to get out there to our voters and to our residents in Santa Clara County how easy it is to cast a ballot in Santa Clara County,” said Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey.

“We have brand new voting equipment this year that we implemented in the March primary election.”

On Oct. 5 all registered voters in Santa Clara County received a ballot package including a free postage return envelope in an effort to minimize any cost voters would have spent on paying for a postage stamp. 

Some key changes to this year’s election include a redesign of Vote Center layouts to allow for proper social distancing between booths and machines, one-way routes inside vote centers, posted health guidelines inside and outside vote centers, and providing personal protective equipment for those who need them. 

Other key changes for in person voting include: voters must check in by using the new E-Pollbook as no more signing on paper rosters are permitted, must fill out ballots by using the bubble now, and a new machine that instantly identifies if there’s an error that needs correction. 

Community Outreach/Response

Joining the effort to reach as many county residents to encourage them to vote — the Public and Legislative Affairs Division for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters launched a comprehensive social media campaign and in the first week of voting in the county, over 38,000 ballots have already been returned. 

“We’ve been posting on social media, we have Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, NextDoor and Instagram,” said Evelyn Mendez Public and Legislative Affairs Division Manager for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. 

“Any way that we can get out there remind people that they need to vote, they need to vote early.”

Voters also have the option to mail their ballot or return it to your nearest ballot drop-off box or vote center. 

For people who want to vote in person — the county will have more than 100 Vote Centers open for multiple days ahead of the 2020 presidential general election. 

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