Ballots

The ballot for a Tracy voter arrived in the mail last week, and includes a page of instructions, with a list of Voter Service Centers and ballot drop box locations, the ballot itself and a blue envelope for returning the ballot, which must be signed by the voter and can be mailed in or dropped off at a Voter Service Center or ballot drop box.

By now all California registered voters should have received that thick blue envelope containing their ballots for the Nov. 3 election.

In addition to the ballot itself, including the Presidential election and state and local races, the package includes instructions on how to vote, and where to vote should citizens choose to vote in person.

This year the state of California has designed its election system so that everyone can vote by mail. As in previous elections, the deadline to vote is 8 p.m. on Election Day. While vote-by-mail ballots can be sent in anytime between now and then, all mail-in ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 to be counted.

One alternative to mailing in ballots is to drop them off at designated Ballot Drop Boxes, which will be available during the hours that these businesses or venues are open. In Tracy there are three locations, including Tracy City Hall, Four Corners Restaurant and Tracy Motorsports.

For people who still want to vote in person, the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters will have 34 Voter Service Centers scattered throughout the county, including five in Tracy, in addition to the Registrar of Voters main office in downtown Stockton. They will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Saturday, Oct. 31, with extended hours, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Election Day.

Voters can drop off completed ballots at any Voter Service Center, and if they’ve lost or misplaced the ballot they received in the mail, they can get a replacement ballot, or they can use touch-screen voter machines to cast their votes.

Residents can register to vote by mail up to 15 days before the election via completion of a vote-by-mail application submitted online or in-person to the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters office in Stockton.

Those who wish to register or re-register to vote less than 15 days before the election must complete the Same-Day Voter registration process and request their ballot in-person at the county elections office or at any of the county’s Voting Service Centers. People can register to vote on Election Day, but the counting of those votes will be delayed as elections officials verify that voters’ eligibility.

All ballots must have the voter’s signature to be counted, and that signature will be verified against the signature on file with that voter’s registration record at the county elections office. If the county receives duplicate ballots from the same person, the one received first will be counted.

This year voters can track their ballot all the way to the elections office where votes are counted. The California Secretary of State’s office has created the “Where's My Ballot?” service, www.wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov. People can choose to get notifications by email, text or telephone to let them know when their ballot has reached the U.S. Post Office, the county elections office, and when the ballot has been verified.

California voters can receive live election results at www.electionresults.sos.ca.gov once all polling locations have closed. Updates will occur once county election officials report their results to the office of the Secretary of State.

Tracy residents can view 2020 election information at the city’s website, https://cityoftracy.org/?navid=9111, which houses information on local candidates, measures and frequently asked questions.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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