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Early voting begins in California Primary as San Diego County sends out mail ballots

2020 California Primary ballots
Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 23:16:19-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The first ballots in the 2020 California Primary have now been cast. Early voting began Monday at the Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa, while more than 1.3 million ballots were sent out to vote-by-mail voters across the county.

Election officials are urging San Diegans to vote early when possible and check their registrations before voting.

"I must stress that voters should ask now," Registrar of Voters Michael Vu told 10News Monday afternoon. "Do not delay if you are out there, busy. Make this a priority for yourself."

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Several factors are impacting officials' recommendation to act early. Most have to do with very high expected turnout. Vu says that is his expectation after seeing an energized San Diego electorate in 2016 and 2018, as well as a new change in election law.

While the registration deadline is February 18, this year, voters will actually still be able to register or change their registration through election day. However, these "conditional voter registrations" will take longer to process.

"That means more paperwork for you to fill out," Vu said. "What that means is not just that it will take longer for you to vote, it also means that the people in line waiting to vote gets backed up, as well."

Vu would not be surprised to see a repeat of the five-hour lines seen at the Registrar's office in 2018. He also says those conditional registration votes will take longer to count, because the new information must be verified before the vote is allowed to be counted. This could put pressure on the elections staff to get all the votes counted within the 30 days allotted before the election is certified.

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Other changes this year include new voting machines available at each polling place, and that a stamp is no longer required to send back ballots by mail.