Days ahead of the Oct. 22 deadline to register to vote in San Luis Obispo County, local election officials have already received a near-record number of completed registration forms.
According to SLO County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong, 168,070 people are registered in SLO County to vote in the upcoming Nov. 6 election.
The county’s registration record was set during the last presidential election when 168,257 people were registered to vote in SLO County.
“Ballots were only put in the mail stream Tuesday, so the earliest voters could’ve gotten it is Wednesday and we’ve already gotten some ballots back as early as Thursday,” Gong said. “I can only imagine the voter received their ballot, they voted it at the post office and put it right back into the mailbox.”
Gong said the enthusiasm to vote is high this election cycle and he attributes some of the new voter registrations to efforts at college campuses in the area.
One of the misconceptions about registering to vote is that the process is difficult, Gong said.
Registration can be completed in a matter of minutes at physical registration locations, like the County government building or the library, and it can also be done online.
Following the controversy that erupted during the June primary elections over mismatched voter signatures, Gong said his office has a plan to mail verification forms to voters who do not sign their ballot and those with mismatched signatures. The verification forms will be accepted up to eight days after the election.
The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is Oct. 13.
Mail-in ballots must be received by election day or postmarked by Nov. 6.
Santa Barbara County has not yet replied to requests for the number of registered voters there.