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Elections Division chief says ballot counting may go faster in all-mail election
The reason is there will be few, if any, provisional ballots cast
Donna Linder, the assistant Clerk Recorder for Stanislaus County, is running for Stanislaus County Clerk Recorder. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

With registered voters only able to vote by mail – or drop off at a collection center – will counting take longer?

No, said Donna Linder, the Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters. Maybe even less time.

“Remember only 23 percent voters went to the polls,” said Linder, who added that most voters procrastinate and vote on the last day. She said her office is used to 40,000 to 50,000 ballots dumped on Election Day.

Linder said the problem of provisional ballots should go away with changes to voting this year. In the 2016 congressional and gubernatorial election, the elections office was hit with a deluge of provisional ballots. In the past, voters with problems, such as spoiled ballots or those who didn’t get a ballot, or claim they didn’t vote already, will be able to get a new one at the new satellite offices which will be set up. Right then and there a staffer will be able to look up the voter registration on the computer and see if a ballot has been turned in before a new one is given. The signature will also be checked.

“When you went to a polling location and you walked in without your vote by mail ballot, they had no way of knowing where it was or what happened to they had you vote provisionally,” said Linder.

Even those who moved within the county will be able to update their voter registration address and receive a correct ballot for their new home address.

“So no need, again, to vote provisionally. The provisional ballot process is us researching that you didn’t vote at a poll, you didn’t vote by mail and updating anything that needed to be updated so it’s a very long process to do all those. We should have very few of them in this type of election. So processing vote-by-mail is much faster than provisional.”

Counties have 30 days to count and certify election results to the California Secretary of State’s office. Larger counties like Sacramento have been able to finish the job in two weeks, she said.