Election Day: What You Need to Know

Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter

It’s almost over.


That includes up at the Mono County Elections office, where the big night is now only a day away.

The interest in the election is high, not just nationally, but in Mono County, said Clerk Bob Musil. Of Mono County’s 6,505 registered voters, about 800 of them registered to vote in the past six months, before the Oct. 24 deadline to vote, according to election officials.

He noted the county sent out about 4,161 Vote By Mail Ballots; of those, 1,551 had been returned to the County Elections Office by mid-last-week and they were coming in at a rate of about 200 a day.

He expects that rate to pick up as Election Day approaches, although the last day to request a Vote by Mail ballot was Nov. 1, he said.

Unlike the last election in June where a copy-editing mistake on the Mammoth Lakes Town Council ballot triggered another ballot mailing at the last minute, the election process is going smoothly this fall, with one exception, he said.

This time, it’s a U.S. Postal Service problem, which has delayed at least some Vote By Mail ballots.

The problem stems from a batch of ballots that were inadvertently left in a bin in a processing area on the West Coast after they were sent from Bridgeport to Tehachapi on time, he said.

The problem has since been corrected, and the ballots were mailed out in time to reach their recipients before Nov. 8, but Musil said the Elections Office has been receiving calls from residents concerned about the whereabouts of their ballots.

“We have heard from some people who are very concerned,” he said. “But we believe we had enough time to get the ballots back to them in time.”
Should residents not receive their ballots in time, they can cast a vote in person on Election Day, he said.

Other than that, he has had some questions about the ballot itself, which came in at just over an ounce, prompting concerns that the Postal Service would send ballots back, should voters have neglected to put enough postage on their ballots. That is not going to happen, he said, noting the Postal Service will process the ballots.

Other than that, things are moving smoothly, he said.

The machines have been tested, they are installed, and everything is ready to go,” he said.

“We are expecting a very high turnout,” he said.

Musil was speaking during a Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting Nov. 1. Supervisor Larry Johnston asked if the County was expecting any of the issues, such as anticipated long lines, voter intimidation or poll observer issues, that have dominated some national news.

“The turnout might slow things down a bit, but I think we are fine there,” Musil said. He added, however, that the long list of propositions on the California ballot could also slow down the in-person voting process a bit.

“We are hoping people bring in a list they have already filled out regarding how they are going to vote,” he said. If not, there will be voter information available at the voting places for people to study, he said.

No voter intimidation issues are expected, he said, nor are any issues with the few poll observers who will be in place.

“People cannot gather within 100 feet of the doors to the polling place,” he said, and any kind of political activity needs to be at least 100 feet away.

For example, during June’s Town Council election, at least one Town Council candidate did set up a booth in the Mammoth High School parking lot, but it was located outside of the required boundaries, he said.

Results for the County will begin to trickle into the Elections Office as soon as 8:05 p.m. from Bridgeport, where residents vote in a location right next to the offices.

After that, it’s a steady stream of poll workers carrying boxes full of ballots from points north and south, all hitting the 395 as soon after the polls close as possible, he said.

Once the ballots are actually delivered, they need to be counted, and that usually takes a few hours, with most local results available before midnight, should all go well.

How to Vote By Mail:
• The last day to request a Vote by Mail ballot was Tuesday, November 1.
• There is a Vote by Mail application on the back of the Sample Ballot booklet, or there is an application available online at http://monocounty.ca.gov/elections/page/ways-vote.
• Vote by Mail ballots must be postmarked no later than Nov. 8 to be counted.
• Vote by Mail ballots must be received in the County offices no later than three business days after the election.
After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope. You may return your voted vote-by-mail ballot by mailing it to your County Elections Official, returning it in person to a polling place or the Elections Office in your county on Election Day or authorizing a relative or person living in the same household as you to return the ballot on your behalf.
• Voters can drop off their completed ballot before Election Day at the Bridgeport office or at the Mono County Office of Community Development, upstairs in the Minaret Mall (above Giovanni’s).
• On Election Day, ballots can be dropped off at the Mammoth High School Library, or any of the following community centers: Antelope Valley, Bridgeport Memorial Hall, June Lake, Crowley Lake or Chalfant.
• Always check to be sure you have enough postage.
• When your Vote By Mail ballot is received by your County Elections Official, your signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match. To preserve the secrecy of your ballot, the ballot will then be separated from the envelope, and then it will be tallied.
ª Note to Vote by Mail voters: Because Friday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, the deadline for the county to receive the ballots will be Monday, Nov. 14.

How to vote in person:
• All of Mammoth will vote in one place again this November, at the Mammoth High School library.
• Benton and Chalfant are combined into one precinct that votes at the Chalfant Community Center.
• Antelope Valley, Bridgeport, June Lake, and Crowley Lake each vote at their respective community centers.
All other communities in Mono County are Vote By Mail only.
• The doors close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.
* If you have questions, go to http://www.monocounty.ca.gov/elections or call 760-932-5537.