SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- Hundreds of thousands of San Diegans are expected to cast their ballots in person today, Election Day, with over 1 million ballots already received.
The San Diego County Registrar of Voters said more than 1.1 million ballots have been received and nearly 60,000 residents have voted early in-person as of Monday, well more than double when compared to this point in the 2016 presidential election.
Of the 1.95 million registered voters in the county, 1,114,627 had already turned in their ballots as of election eve. Over the weekend, 44,370 residents cast early votes at the county's polling locations and another 10,391 have voted early at the registrar's office since Oct. 5.
Mail-in ballots were sent to all registered voters in the county on Oct. 5, even those who had not requested one.
Voters who prefer to cast their ballots at their assigned polling place on Election Day can do so between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday.
An in-person voting location tool can be found on the county's voting website, SDvote.com.
The day before the 2016 election, San Diego County had recorded 507,127 mail ballot returns. More than a million people voted that year for a voter turnout of 81%.
Registrar Michael Vu anticipates turnout of anywhere between 80 and 85%, or 1,559,260 to 1,656,710 voters, in San Diego County this time around.
That could mean anywhere from 389,870 to 487,320 residents could cast ballots in person Tuesday -- depending on how many cast ballots by the end of the day Monday -- at one of the county's 235 "Super Poll" locations.
In the 2012 election, 77% of eligible voters cast a ballot. In the 2018 and 2014 Gubernatorial Elections, just 66% and 45% -- respectively -- of the electorate voted.
During the March primary, about 1,600 polling locations were open to the public. The COVID-19 pandemic caused that number to shrink considerably. Even so, more than 4,000 poll workers will manage locations such as SDSU's Viejas Arena, the San Diego Convention Center, Rincon and Sycuan tribal halls and the Walnut Grove Park Red Barn in an Marcos. The 235 polling locations represent 572 polling precincts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the registrar's office encourages older adults and people with underlying medical conditions to avoid long lines and crowded polling places by voting early.
Vu said his office is working with county public health services to ensure the health and safety of election workers and voters. Personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies will be provided to staffers so they can conduct the election process safely.
Voters casting ballots in person are instructed to bring a face mask and plan to maintain social distance.
Locations of vote centers were chosen and configured to allow for queuing and voting while maintaining six feet of social distance. Masks will be required inside, but residents unable or unwilling to wear them will be allowed to vote curbside.
Officials noted that the need to social distance may create longer lines than usual at in-person locations.