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New voting laws for SLO and Santa Barbara Co. voters to keep in mind on Election Day

Posted at 6:22 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 09:41:05-05

As California voters head to the polls for the Super Tuesday primaries, there's a few changes that have taken effect this year to keep in mind.

A record number of voters are registered in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

Elections officials have been working around the clock for days to record mail-in ballots.

For voters who plan to cast their ballot in person, there are a few changes to keep in mind.

In years past, voters who wanted to change their party preference or address on Election Day had to do so at the elections office, where they would be issued a provisional ballot.

A new change means voters have more flexibility.

"It was only two weeks ago that the governor signed into urgency legislation, the ability for voters who are already registered and going to the poling place being able to change their party on their ballot for Election Day," San Luis Obispo County Clerk and Recorder Tommy Gong said. "If they had a change of residence address, we're allowed to also have them update with a form and what that does is they can vote a typical poling place ballot which goes into the box as opposed to the provisional ballot, which goes into the envelope."

Vote by mail ballots must be dropped off at the elections office by 8 p.m. or, if dropped off at the post office, the ballot should be date stamped.

Voters who plan to cast their ballot in person can find their poling place by calling the elections office or entering their address on the county elections website.

Gong said the busy times at the polls are in the early morning, during lunch, and after 5 p.m.

Under California law, employers must give employees up to two hours to vote.

Clothing, pins, or signs that feature a political message of any kind are not permitted at the polling place. Elections officials will ask offenders to change the prohibited article of clothing or, if they cannot change, wear a trash bag over the clothing.