SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Election officials in Santa Barbara County and across the nation are expecting the turnout for the 2020 Presidential vote to be the highest in history.
This is based on the early returns and the expected strong turnout on election day.
By the time the polls opened on Tuesday, just in Santa Barbara County alone more than 65% of the eligible voters had cast a ballot.
All the ballots received by mail or in person will be counted until about 1 a.m. Wednesday November 4. The next counting session will be Friday November 6. About 50,000 ballots still need to be counted.
Joe Holland, Registrar of Voters, has encouraged the public to register, verify their registration, and vote early well before the arrival of ballots
"I think it has been tremendous. We were actually concerned that there would be long lines at the polls. People got the message and voted early, " said Holland.
He has urged the public not to have any conflicts or issues process. He said the voting process is not difficult. Registration can be done online or in person in just a few minutes. The rest is in the hands of the voters.
About 235,000 vote by mail ballots were sent out in late September. They arrived days ahead of the official start of the election. Everyone who was registered received one.
Anyone who wanted to mail that ballot in via the U.S. Postal Service was encouraged to do so, or use the special vote by mail boxes distributed across the county. They are in 30 locations spread out around the county. The 800 pound boxes were installed by early October.
Each box was checked for ballots at least once a day.
Voters could also turn their ballot in to the elections office in person or one of the polling places. This year instead of having 86 polling places around the county there are 35 consolidated locations.
Easy Lift has also provided a free service for voters who are mobility challenged.
On Saturday, polling places opened for in-person voters. There were no reported problems or long lines.
With all voters receiving a vote-by-mail ballot the state was hoping to reduce the number of voters in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. In California so far, more than 9.4 million people have returned their ballot.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY ELECTIONS PROCESS
The elections office says election night tabulation will end at approximately 1:00 am on Wednesday. The results will be the vote-by-mail results for all ballots that have been processed, the early voting ballots cast at the polling place locations through Monday, and the ballots cast at the polls on Election Day.
The Semi-Official Results Summary and the Statement of Votes Cast will be online.
Updated results will be posted Monday, November 9 by 5:00 pm.
Those updated results include Vote-By-Mail ballots submitted at the election offices, polling place, and ballot drop boxes on Election Day and ballots that were postmarked on or before election day but received by mail after Election Day.
Voters who are in line when the polls have closed will be able to vote.
Vehicles in line to drop off a ballot when the polls are closed will be allowed to deliver that ballot. An election official will determine the end of the line and announce that the polls have closed.
For more information, visit Santa Barbara County Elections website.