Time is running out for Santa Barbara registered voters to turn in their ballots.
The City Council election wraps up at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“It’s worth it and it makes you feel part of the process which is good,” said Paul Sutherland after he turned in his ballot.
Sutherland doesn’t have a lot of company. Only a fraction of the 46,000 registered voters mailed or dropped off their ballot.
“We are a little bit behind where we’ve been in past years, but still for a city election it’s a pretty decent turnout,” said Gwen Peirce, the city clerk.
This is the third time Santa Barbara city elections are mail-in only. There are no regular polling places.
The new way of courting votes is becoming routine for the ballot processing board.
“It’s given me quite a new appreciation for the importance of voting for the city election and how much we need everyone to participate,” said Louise Carey, a member of the Ballot Processing Board.
By Tuesday afternoon, the count was not quite at 14,000. But that number increased to more than 16,000 by 5 p.m.
“And that’s a tragedy and that’s why I make a point to vote all the time myself. I don’t want to be one of those 35,000 that don’t vote,” said Bob Looney after he walked out of City Hall.
Looney believes if people don’t vote, they don’t get to complain about city leaders.
But some voters think people just forgot about the whole election.
“It was a mail-in ballot, you’re not seeing a lot of polling stations around. Really, unless someone hadn’t come by and knocked at my door and reminded me about it, I might have forgotten as well,” said Samantha Ireland.
Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to turn in their ballot. They can be dropped off at Grace Lutheran Church, Calvary Baptist Church, the Franklin Neighborhood Center and City Hall.
The city will announce semi-official results Tuesday night. Provisional ballots will be counted Wednesday morning.