The Nov. 3, 2020 Presidential Election is less than a month away and ballots should be in the mailboxes this week of all registered voters.
Colusa County has a total of 9,579 people registered to vote, said Colusa County Chief Election Official, Rose Gallo-Vasquez.
“I highly encourage you to be on the lookout for your vote-by-mail ballot, and to vote it and hopefully return it by mail,” Gallo-Vasquez said.
About 6,683 voters in Colusa County are permanent absentee voters. But the remainder, who traditionally vote in person, will get a vote-by-mail ballot this year as well.
Vote-by-mail ballots were ordered by the Secretary of State as a safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic, although Colusa County will have in-person options for those who still wish to go to the polls on Election Day.
“Every voter will be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot,” Gallo-Vasquez said. “That does not make this an all-mail election.”
Colusa County voters who planned to vote in-person may still do so, but for efficiency’s sake, they need to bring their vote-by-mail ballot with them to surrender at their polling locations.
Attempting to vote twice, by mail ballot and by voting at the poll is illegal under California and federal law, officials said. It is also illegal to register as a non-existent person or vote in more than one county.
“We have redesigned the vote-by-mail envelope,” Gallo-Vasques said. “When you receive it, even if you plan to vote at the polls, keep it. You will need to turn it in un-voted at your polling place, if that is what you are choosing to do on Election Day.”
In a county that was once predominantly Republican, registration by party has greatly split in the past two decades. Colusa County currently has 3,030 people registered as Democrat, and 3,953 registered as Republican. Those who have registered to vote without a political affiliation have grown to 2,278. American Independent and minor party affiliations account for less that 500 voters.
The Nov. 3 ballot will have local races for school board and special districts.
Colusa voters will select three members of the City Council and their City Treasurer. Williams voters will select two members for City Council and decide the fate of a tax measure. Voters in District 2 (Colusa area) will select their representative on the Colusa County Board of Supervisors.
Additionally, voters will select their Presidential candidate and members of the State Legislature. Voters will also have a say on 12 ballot initiatives.
“There is a lot to vote on,” Gallo-Vasquez said.
Vote-by-mail ballots were sent to all registered voters, but different counties will have different models for voting this year, including traditional polling places or at multiple voting centers that will be open over a period of four days.
Colusa County opted for traditional polling places to be open on Election Day, although some locations have changed to allow for physical distancing protocols to be enforced. Fewer voting booths will be available at each location, so voters should expect to wait longer in line. Face coverings are required.
While Colusa County voters have a choice to vote by mail or vote at a traditional polling location, officials said casting a mail ballot is encouraged because it is secure, efficient, and safe.
“As you can see by the statistics, 73 percent of our voters already vote by mail,” Gallo-Vasquez said. “It’s only a small portion of our voters that are going to be introduced to this other option just to provide health and safety to our voters under these circumstances.”
Election officials also remind voters to mail in their ballots well before Election Day if that is the method they choose. A drop box at the Hall of Records on Jay Street, in Colusa, will also be provided.
“If you are not voting your vote-by-mail ballot, take it and surrender it,” Gallo-Vasquez said. “It will facilitate the process by getting you through the line quickly and efficiently.”
If you do not surrender your vote-by-mail ballot, then voters must cast a provisional ballot, which may not be counted until verified, typically after Election Day, officials said. ♣