SAN LUIS OBISO COUNTY, Calif. - With less than two months to the November General Election, it is all systems go for the San Luis Obispo County elections office.
"We're actually ahead of schedule just by a bit in terms of our ballot layout, proofing, our Voter Information Guide preparations, things are coming together very nicely", said San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong.
Voter Information Guides and vote-by-mail ballots will go out October 1.
While Vote by Mail has been part of the election process for years in San Luis Obispo County, this year's General Election is different.
In May, Governor Newsom signed an executive order requiring county elections officials to send vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020 election to all registered voters in California citing the threat COVID-19 poses to public health from in-person voting.
"This year is definitely different in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that we're all experiencing right now", Gong said, "both through our Governor Newsom's executive order, every voter will receive a ballot in the mail automatically at the beginning of October and we are encouraging voters to vote by mail this election because we do think it is the safest option."
As a result, Gong says there will be fewer polling stations across the county on election day.
"But but we will have a limited number of Voter Service Centers open, 23 of them, for four days of voting between October 31and of course through election day", Gong says, "we'll also have for the vote by mail voters 19 vote by mail drop box locations."
The impact of COVID-19 on the November election looms large for San Luis Obispo County Republicans and Democrats.
"My concerns are with the pandemic and whether or not that's going to affect voter turnout", said Rino Barbagiovanni at the SLO Democratic Party headquarters in San Luis Obispo, "you know I think the key for the Democrats winning is good voter turnout."
"Most of us are concerned about voter fraud and the mail-in ballots", said Sue Schimandle, with the SLO County Republican Party, "we believe that its safer to walk your ballot it, drop it at the office, at the County Clerk's or at a designated location where there are (drop) boxes."
Voters are reminded to fill out vote-by-mail ballots correctly and be sure to sign the return envelope in order to make each vote count.
The San Luis Obispo County Elections website, www.slovote.com, is a one-stop location online for voter and election information.