Do you know how to vote? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered

Millions+of+Californians+will+be+voting+by+mail.+Before+you+cast+your+ballot+make+sure+you+know+what+to+do.+

Emily Burgess

Millions of Californians will be voting by mail. Before you cast your ballot make sure you know what to do.

by Catlan Nguyen, Social Media Editor

With the election less than a month away and the nation still gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, voting this year will be very different from what we are all used to. Massive changes were made to the San Diego County voting system to address public health and safety, and millions of Americans will vote by mail. It’s a lot to keep track of and there’s a lot of information (and misinformation) out there, so here are some tips to help you ensure your vote is counted.

This one’s obvious but, make sure you’re registered

California voters should be registered to vote at least 15 days before the election or by Oct. 19 to automatically receive a mail-in ballot due to the on-going pandemic. 

Check your registration status here in case you’ve moved recently.

Same-Day Voter Registration is also a safety net for those who missed the deadline. Eligible citizens who need to register or re-register to vote within 14 days of an election can complete this process and vote at their county elections office, polling place or vote center. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.

Many students at SDSU are urging people to vote safely and reminding younger voters that their voice matters.

“Every election is important but I would say this election is incredibly important, especially for younger people because it’s the first time a lot of us have a say in our future,” SDSU Rock The Vote member Grace de Vega said. “It’s the first time we have a voice and we get to exercise that right.” 

If you’re a college student living on-campus and registering to vote in San Diego you can have your ballot sent to you at school. 

 If you’re a college student living in a dorm:

  1. At SDSU: Use the residence hall address for your mail-in ballot.
  2. At UC San Diego: Use the 9450 Gilman Drive address and your UCSD box number as your unit number.
  3. At Cal State San Marcos: Use the residence hall address and your apartment number.
  4. At the University of San Diego: Use the 5998 Alcala Park address and your USD unit number.
  5. At Point Loma Nazarene University: Use the campus’ main address.

There’s a lot at stake so take your time.

There’s no need to rush when filling out your ballot. Take the time to look over your voter information guide and the sample ballot for your district and make a plan for who you’re going to vote for before receiving your absentee ballot.

For statewide ballot measures and propositions, familiarize yourself with the issues and look to experts you trust. If you’re struggling to make a decision, talk it out with friends and family. They might have information and perspectives you didn’t come across in your research. 

Understanding the process takes a lot of the stress of voting away.

Completing your mail-in ballot can be complicated. It’s helpful to review the rules and requirements before you fill out your ballot because one wrong pen mark might mean your vote won’t be counted.

“I think more people will be voting by mail rather than at polling stations because of cautionary protection against the virus,” business administration junior Sarah Mendoza said. “I only found out about how voting by mail works this year since I’m doing it for the first time myself, but I’m figuring it out as we go.”

 Here’s a breakdown of what you should do:

  1. Once you receive the ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions. Any mistake will make your ballot invalid.
  2. Sign and date where indicated using a pen with dark ink. (Ideally blue or black)
  3. Mail your completed ballot back to the address indicated on the return envelope. 
  4. Each mail-in ballot can be returned by mail, no postage required, or at one of 126 drop box locations. Here are each location’s hours.
  5. Completed mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, and received no later than 17 days after the Election in California. However, it’s better to get them in sooner rather than later.

San Diego County voters also have the option to vote in-person. Polling locations will be open  Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 to minimize lines and big crowds so voters can stay safe during the pandemic.

SDSU students can also vote in-person on campus at Viejas Arena, Emily Mickelson, the voter registration lead for SDSU’s Rock the Vote Campaign, said. 

If you’re voting in person or dropping off your ballot know where to go

You can find your assigned polling place on the back of your Sample Ballot, Voter Information Pamphlet or online. San Diego County is offering 235 polling locations. 

Masks will be required at polling locations and social distancing protocol will be enforced.

if you plan to visit between Oct. 7 and Nov. 3, check the locations’ websites for its operating hours. 

On Election Day, all locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Still not sure? Check out this interactive map with every drop off location in San Diego County.

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