Early, in person voting begins Saturday in San Luis Obispo County, and keeping voters safe is a top priority.
County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong discussed some of the safety measures they are putting into place for those who still want to vote in person.
According to Gong, the county typically has 76 polling places but this year during the four days of voting, they will only have 23 locations.
On Wednesday Oct. 28, 97,000 vote by mail ballots have been returned. According to the County Clerk-Recorders office, that is nearly double what the county typically receives during this time.
San Luis Obispo County voter Rosemay discusses her experience voting early this year. She says, "I appreciate being able to do my voting early so I do not have to stand in line and it minimizes my risk due to COVID."
Not everyone wants to use the mail-in ballot however.
"Voting booths and equipment will be cleaned at regular intervals throughout the day through the four days of voting," said Gong.
He continues, saying that they "will have hand sanitizer dispensers located throughout the voter service center as well."
The County is also taking steps to ensure physical distancing.
"When you look at some of our voter service centers there are markers on the ground to signify the 6 foot distance," said Gong. "We will have sneeze guards in place where the voters will be in contact with the polling workers for a longer period of time, primarily at the check in points."
Voters dropping off their ballots today said they felt comfortable with the measures in place.
"It was super sanitary, I was able to have someone open the door for me on the way in, get hand sanitizer on the way in and way out," said voter Dominck Trageser.
The San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorders office offers the following guidelines for voters:
VOTING LOCATION SAFETY CHECKLIST
Wear a face covering while at the voting location.
Keep 2 arms’ length distance from other people.
Use hand sanitizer before entering and after leaving a Voter Service Center.
Bring your own ballpoint pen to avoid touching high-contact surfaces.
AVOID LINES ON ELECTION DAY
If you visit a Voter Service Center in person, go before Election Day during the first three days of voting to help maintain physical distancing and avoid lines.
If you have a choice of time to vote, avoid the busiest time of the day: before work (7:00 to 9:00 a.m); during lunch hour (11:00a.m. to 2:00p.m.) and after work (5:00 p.m.to 8:00 p.m.)
You can find ballot drop off boxes in Santa Barbara County here.
You can find ballot drop off boxes in San Luis Obispo Countyhere.
Any person with additional questions may contact the County Clerk-Recorder, Elections Division at 805-781-5228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.