SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Santa Clara County reached a record high one million registered voters for the Nov. 3 presidential elections.
“We’ve seen the percentage of registered voters climb higher and higher and that’s exciting for us here at the Registrar’s Office – it means more and more Santa Clara County residents are becoming active participants in our democracy,” Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey said at a news conference Wednesday.READ MORE: Bay Area COVID-19 Roundup: April Reopening For San Francisco Schools; Baseball Fans Ready For In-Person Opening Day; Reports Of Mass California Exodus May Be False
The million-voter mark represents 83 percent of the county’s eligible voters and is a significant increase from the 2016 presidential election, where 67 percent of eligible county voters were registered.
“More people are registered in Santa Clara County now than ever before,” Bushey said.
Bushey cited three main reasons for the increase: automatic voter registration by the Department of Motor Vehicles, high interest in the presidential elections, and the massive effort of staff and community partners to get out the word.
“Things are a little different in the pandemic, but we have been doing distant-registering,” Bushey said. “We have been doing so much online outreach working with our numerous organizations and partners like the League of Women Voters and San Jose State University.”
Anna Verzosa, an 18-year-old San Jose State University student shared that this was her first time voting in an election.
“It (voting) made me feel like what I am doing on an everyday basis has an effect on my future … and maybe I do have the power to put someone who represents me — a person of color, a woman and a younger person,” Verzosa said. “I really do urge my generation and the younger generations and people who aren’t of age yet to pre-register. It was very empowering.”
Because of COVID-19, all registered voters are mailed ballots with a free postage-paid return envelope, and many ballots have already been delivered and turned in, Bushey said.
Voters can mail their ballot or return it at one of the county’s 98 ballot drop-off boxes, one of the 100 vote centers, or at the Registrar of Voters office in San Jose.Lake County Luxury Hotel, Housing Project Raises Concerns Over Wildfire Risk
“I have heard a lot on the news and in the county that vote-by-mail is not safe. That is not true.” Bushey said. “There is no evidence at all of any widespread voter fraud in vote-by-mail voting … here in Santa Clara County or in the state,”
Bushey said that a ballot with a signature that does not match the one on file goes through several checks to ensure a vote is counted. If a signature cannot be matched or found, the voter is contacted and given the opportunity to fix the ballot.
“That is why it is so important to vote and register early,” Bushey said. “And if you haven’t registered yet, it is not too late to join our million-member club.”
Registration for the upcoming election ends Oct. 19 and can be done online at registertovote.ca.gov.
Reaching one million registered voters “is indeed a milestone moment in our diverse community,” said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “Now those million registered voters must vote to make their voices heard.”
Early in-person voting started this week at the Registrar of Voters Office located at 1555 Berger Drive, Bldg. 2, in San Jose.
Vote Centers will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
To find the nearest Vote Center and drop box locations to you visit: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/rov/VBM/Pages/VoteEarly.aspx?mc_cid=361898a9a0&mc_eid=5f05b2b691.
To check one’s voter registration status call (408) 299-VOTE or visit voterstatus.sos.ca.gov.
To track the status of a ballot, voters can sign up for text, email or phone call updates via https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/.MORE NEWS: Theft Leaves San Jose Couple Bereft: 'We’re Heartbroken, All Our Precious Things Are Gone'
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