There are 53 ballot boxes open in Sacramento County supermarkets, city halls, community centers, and libraries for voters to turn in their ballots, even though election day is still a month away.
It’s a continuation of the changes first introduced for the June primary in Sacramento and four other counties. All voters in these counties are sent mail-in ballots which can be turned in or mailed through November 6. They can also cast their votes in person at a Vote Center, which replaces the traditional polling place.
The amount of supervision of the drop-off boxes varies depending on the location. According to Janna Haynes with the Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections, the sites are secure.
"Ballot security happens back at our registrar's office as it always has," Haynes says. "The ballots are checked for no tampering. The signatures are checked. They go through a counting process just like they would anytime and that's true of the vote center ballots as well."
The number of voting locations will increase to 131, including traditional voting centers, in the days before the election. Eighteen vote centers will open October 27 with voting materials; 78 will open November 3 and will stay open through the election November 6.
Voter turnout for California's June primary increased in the five counties using the Vote Center model: Sacramento, Madera, Napa, Nevada and San Mateo.
Participation in the early-voting program is not mandatory for counties statewide but will be an option beginning in 2020 under the California Voter's Choice Act.