San Diego County voters take advantage of early voting on day before election

Long lines of voters on Monday at ROV office

SAN DIEGO - Lines of voters taking advantage of early voting at the Registrar of Voters office varied from long to nonexistent on Monday, but there was one big change from 2008 which actually made the lines shorter this year.

The line of cars waiting to get into the ROV parking lot stretched for more than a block at one point on Monday afternoon. 

Most of the people in the cars were waiting to get to a tent in the lower parking area. That is where they dropped off mail-in ballots without even getting out of the car. 

But whether sitting in a car or standing in line, everyone was there to vote early.

"Not everyone can come on Tuesday like myself," said voter Meyer Stansberry. "I live in San Marcos. I have to be down here at work at 7 tomorrow morning and I usually don't get done until around 6 at night."

As long as the lines were at times at the ROV on Monday, they were not as long as in 2008, which was the last general election. 

Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler said that was due to voters' growing preference for mail-in ballots. 

"It's just about doubled from four years ago," she said. "Every election, we see it going up and up and up. People just enjoy the convenience of it."

In 2008, Seiler's office sent out about 500,000 mail-in ballots. This year, that number has grown to more than 900,000. 

Seiler said more than half of the mail-in ballots distributed to voters around San Diego County have been returned as of Monday.

She told City News Service that 901,816 absentee ballots were sent out, and 464,127 had been returned as of Monday afternoon. About 58 percent of registered Republicans had returned their ballots, compared to 52 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of those who declined to state a preference, according to the registrar.

"The voter interest is really very healthy," Seiler said. Around 1,900 people went to the Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa on Saturday to cast ballots, a very solid total, she said.

She said she expects most of the outstanding mail-in ballots to be returned by the time polls close Tuesday night.

There are also more people registered to vote in San Diego County. In 2008, there were about 1.4 million. This year, there are more than 1.5 million. 

Voters 10News spoke with said Seiler and her employees are doing a good job. 

"Yeah, I think they've got it pretty under control here," said Leandra Hamilton. 

Meyer Stansberry told 10News, "Last time, I don't know if you were here... I waited almost six and a half hours, so this time it was pretty easy. I just walked right up. They gave us instructions and told us what to do."

The drive-thru operation goes from 7 a.m. Tuesday until 6 p.m. The ROV office is open from 7 a.m. Tuesday until 8 p.m. Then, the voting stops and the counting will begin.

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