Voting ‘Supercenters' Could Replace Neighborhood Polling Places if San Diego County Adopts Voter's Choice Act

The effort to streamline the voting process may eliminate what voters have come to expect from "Election Day"

San Diego County voters could see the end of their neighborhood polling places by the 2020 Presidential Election if the county decides to adopt a measure passed by the state legislature. 

Five counties in California have already adopted the Voter's Choice Act, which was passed by the state legislature in 2016.

The act allows a county to decide that all registered voters within their limits would get mail-in ballots 28 days before the election.

The voter would then drop the postage-paid ballots in the mail, in drop boxes or at "Vote Centers" instead of going to polling centers to fill out a ballot on Election Day. 

San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu said it could mean the hundreds of polling centers across the county could instead be swapped out for larger voting hubs. 

"If the county chooses and opts into [the Voter's Choice Act] then polling locations as we know it today may go away for something like a 'supercenter' where a lot of voters could go to specific sites throughout the entire county to vote," Vu said. 

Doreen Ballinger has offered her garage as an official polling place for her Talmadge neighbors for 10 years and would miss the opportunity to do it again.

"It's kind of nice having the neighbors come by. That's one of the nice things about having the polls here," Ballinger said.

The change would allow the voting process to become more streamlined by consolidating the number of voting locations.

San Diego County has more than 1,500 poll locations staffed by 7,000 poll workers who get an average stipend of $150 dollars, according to the Registrar's office.

The county has not decided yet whether it will opt into this new process of mail-in ballots and voting centers.

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