SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Preparing for a rush to voting centers that began Monday, San Francisco election officials have moved their operations to large tents set up outside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and blocked off adjacent Grove Street for a safe, socially distanced space to cast ballots.

The Department of Elections saw an 80% turnout in the last presidential election, so the city is preparing for record numbers.

“I’m going to try to get down tomorrow to vote,” said Greta Schnetzler of San Francisco. “I’m really excited that they have the early voting, so I can just get it out of the way and then I can work to get everybody else out to vote.”

The Voting Center will be open every weekday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through November 2 (except on October 12), the two weekends prior to Election Day the hours will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and on November 3 (Election Day) from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. The voting center is just one option for San Franciscans.

On Election Day, the site will be one of 588 in-person polling places spread across the city. Everyone choosing to use one will be given PPE on site.

If you’re voting by mail, you can drop your ballot in one of nearly 1,400 collection boxes.

“We’re not going to let COVID stop us from making sure that you have access to vote in San Francisco at your convenience,” said Mayor Breed.

She said the the goal of Civic Center voting center was to help make voting as safe and easy as possible, and encourage a strong turnout.

The voting center has been set up to maintain social distancing. The department will also offer hand sanitizer, gloves and facemasks to all voters.

“I voted at City Hall before, and it’s fine, but it does get to be a lot of people in a small space,” said Michael Meadows of San Francisco. “So I’ve looked at the space across the street and it seems to have good distance.”

 If you are not registered to vote, you have until October 19th in California to do so. You can register at the voting center or do it online.

“Going to get my ballot in the mail is my plan. I voted the last November,” said Jeff Klein of San Francisco. “I like to go drop it off on election day – sort of as a fun thing to do.”

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