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Voting options for fire victims in Santa Cruz County


SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) About 35,000 people have been told to leave their homes as a result of the CZU August Lightning Complex Fires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties, and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

The displacement has the potential to make voting in the upcoming election tricky, but the Santa Cruz County Elections Department has shared options for making sure ballots get counted.

One of the options is to change your mailing address for election materials so they can be sent to a workplace, the home of a family member or friend or picked up at a P.O. box. The county suggests changing a mailing address by Sept. 14 so ballots and election materials go to the right place in the first mailing. If you miss the date, the county can send a replacement ballot.

Another option is to have a ballot emailed to you. Evacuees or people living in temporary housing can sign up to get a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail Ballot. The elections department will email an access code to give access to the ballot, but you will need access to a computer, printer and envelopes to return the ballot.

Voters can also get a ballot in-person at the elections department office or at the Watsonville City Clerk's Office starting Oct. 5. Between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3, there will be 15 other centers open for in-person voting.

The county said it will be getting a mobile voting trailer to drive to different locations and provide the opportunity to get a ballot and vote. They said they will schedule days to set up in fire damaged areas and shelters, but if you have a suggested location, date or time, you are asked to email the Elections Department at

Several post offices in fire damaged areas are closed, but mail is being re-routed to other facilities.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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