SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - Late Tuesday night, San Luis Obispo County Supervisors voted 3-2 to return to the traditional method of polling stations and precincts for future elections in the county, eliminating automatic ballots by mail.
Due to Covid-19, all registered voters in the county received a ballot in the mail for the 2020 General Election. In 2020, SLO County ballots could be sent back through the mail, dropped off at newly created Voter Service Centers or in-person at the County Clerk-Recorder's office.
In Santa Barbara County to the south, all registered voters automatically receive ballots, a process that dates back years.
SLO County saw a record-breaking 88 percent voter turnout for the November general election which was fourth highest in the state.
A recent survey by the SLO County Clerk-Recorder's office showed the vast majority of registered voters prefer that vote-by-mail method.
But after hours of public comment in a 3-2 vote, County Supervisors decided to step back from the automatic mailing of ballots, returning to the traditional model with polling stations and precincts on Election Day. Vote-by-mail remains an option, with estimates of 80% of SLO County voters signed up. The other 20% would have to take the step to select that option to receive a mailed ballot in upcoming elections.
At an undetermined future date, the Board will discuss lobbying state lawmakers on issues of voter ID requirements, postmark requirements and same-day voter registration.