SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Santa Clara County mailed the first ballots of the Nov. 8 presidential election on Saturday, a Registrar of Voters’ Office spokesman said.

The ballots went to military and overseas voters, who are required by law to be mailed their ballots 45 to 60 days before an election.

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Military and overseas voters receive their ballots earlier than local voters to ensure that they have enough time to meet the deadline, spokesman Philip Chantri said.

“There is no more important action in a democracy than voting. By mailing ballots early to the men and women who are serving and living abroad, we are safeguarding their right to vote,” Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey said in a statement.

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The last day to register to vote is Oct. 24 and it can be done online, Chantri said.

Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and must be received by Nov. 14. Military and overseas voters may return their ballots by mail or fax, Chantri said.

Santa Clara County is home to more than 800,000 registered voters, of whom more than 580,000 are permanent vote-by-mail voters and more than 6,300 are military and overseas voters.

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