SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Registrar of Voters has received more than 560,000 ballots, it was announced Wednesday, more than three times the amount received at this point before the 2016 election.
With less than two weeks remaining before the Nov. 3 election, the ballots are in the process of being put through a sorting machine that captures images of voters' signatures for comparison to ones the registrar has on file.
Mail-in ballots were sent to all 1.9 million registered voters in the county on Oct. 5, even to those who had not requested one. Nearly a quarter of those have already been processed.
"Within minutes after the polls close at 8 p.m. on election night, the results for those early returns that were mailed in or deposited at drop- off locations before election day are counted," the registrar's office tweeted.
For those who prefer to vote in person, the Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa is open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Voters also have the option to drop off their ballot at one of 126 drop-off locations around the county -- including dozens of libraries, YMCAs, county offices and The Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person San Diego-area polling places will be open for four days instead of one, Registrar Michael Vu said.
Vu has announced that 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.
An in-person voting location tool can be found on the county's voting website, SDvote.com.
Voters are instructed to bring a face mask and plan to maintain social distance.
"We encourage voters to act early and make voting decisions from the comfort and safety of their home," Vu said. "Mark your ballot, sign, seal and return your mail ballot to a trusted source. The sooner we receive your ballot, the sooner we can start processing it so it will be counted right when the polls close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3."
Voters can return their marked ballot in the pre-paid postage envelope to any U.S. Postal Service office or collection box.
Locations of vote centers were carefully chosen and configured to allow for queuing and voting while maintaining six feet of social distance, officials said. Masks will be required inside, but residents who are unable or unwilling to wear them will be allowed to vote curbside.
However, officials noted that the need to social distance may create longer lines than usual at in-person locations.