Pictured: The Ventura County drive-thru ballot drop box located at the government center at 800 S. Victoria Ave., in Ventura. 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

Due to a state order issued by Gov. Newsom on May 8, 2020, all voting in California will be done by paper ballots that are being mailed to all registered voters. Ballots for the Nov. 3, 2020 Presidential Election will be mailed to all registered voters in Ventura County on Oct. 5. 

This will look the same for those who are already absentee/vote-by-mail voters. For those who normally vote in person at their local polling station, a ballot with an envelope will be automatically mailed to them.

The United States Postal Service “will deliver ballots, voters choose how to return their ballot. There are special procedures related to the pandemic as far as following local health orders at all of our locations,” said Miranda Nobriga, spokesperson with Ventura County Clerk/Recorder’s Office and Elections Division. “Ballots typically go out 29 days prior to the election. We encourage voters to return them early, however, history has shown that they often wait until the last day.”

Ventura County voters will have three options to return their ballots: 

  1. Beginning Oct. 6, at one of 33 white county ballot drop boxes. 
  2. Beginning Oct. 31, at one of 47 in-person voting locations. 
  3. By mail; must be postmarked by Nov. 3.

“In past elections, we would accept [ballots postmarked by election day] up to three business days after the election,” said Nobriga. “For the November election, we are accepting ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 up to 17 days after the election.”

For those returning ballots to drop boxes or in-person voting locations, the ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. In-person voting locations will be open Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Nov. 3, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

“By law, we must provide in-person voting options and the model is based on the Secretary of State’s formula, resulting in 47 locations throughout Ventura County per our registration total,” said Nobriga.  Normally she said they start “processing” ballots that have been received 10 days before the election, but clarified that that does not include “counting” them. “However, with the pandemic, there may be changes.” 

The specific locations for all of the drop boxes are still being finalized and will be posted online. Official county ballot boxes are white and do not require postage. One drive-up drop box is located in front of the Hall of Administration at the Ventura County Government Center located at 800 Victoria Ave. in Ventura. Ballots are collected each day by a team of two election division staff members and returned directly back to the elections division offices at the government center. 

Ballots received before election day will be processed prior to Nov. 3. 

“The first step in processing ballots is signature verification. The ballots are sorted and signatures are checked on the outside of the envelope,” explained Nobriga. Voters will be contacted if a ballot does not have a signature.  “All of this takes place before ballots are opened . . . It isn’t until election night where the servers are merged, names with numbers, and results are released.” 

The in-person voting locations will also have provisional ballots and conditional voter ballots for those who register and vote on the same day. 

“If a voter spoils their ballot, they can correct the error,” she said. If a voter needs a new ballot,  “we ask that they bring their spoiled ballot to receive a new ballot. If they don’t, they will be provided a provisional ballot. This is to ensure the voter didn’t already vote.”

Locations of the drop boxes and in-person voting locations will be posted online: recorder.countyofventura.org/november-3-2020-presidential-general-election-ballot-drop-box-locations/

People can register to vote up until 15 days prior to the election on the California Secretary of State’s web portal: registertovote.ca.gov

You can still register within 15 days of the election through the “same day voter registration process,” which is completed in person at the Ventura County Elections Division office, downstairs at the Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Administration, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura, or at one of the voting locations that will be open starting Oct. 31 through 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.