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Counties prepare for the upcoming special election

CENTRAL COAST Calif. (KION) With early voting underway and the recall election just right around the Corner, election offices are busy making sure every vote is counted.

So far, the Monterey County Office of Elections has received 55,000 ballots. Santa Cruz County has received about 47,000 and San Benito County is already up to over 8,600 ballots.

“So every ballot that comes through the office in an envelope is processed through a sorting system,” said Monterey County Registrar of Voters, Gina Martinez.”That sorting system removes the security flap that covers a voter signature. And we're able to review the signature that's on the envelope and compare it to the voter's record.”

All three Central Coast counties said they notify the voter right away if their ballot is missing a signature or if it doesn’t match the signature they have on file. According to Santa Cruz County elections, less than 5% of ballots they receive are either missing a signature or need further review. They also said a single ballot can go through as many as four different levels of review.

“If it reaches that fourth level, and there really isn't a matching, it doesn't compare, then we send the same thing,” said Santa Cruz County Registrar of Voters Trica Webber. “We send out a letter, if we have a phone number if we have an email we reach out that way.”

In addition to processing ballots, elections officials are also fielding a lot of calls and trying to clear up voters' confusion over the two questions on the ballot.

San Benito’s Assistant County Clerk-Recorder, Francisco Diaz said, “You can vote for one or two of these questions. They're not mutually exclusive. So if you want, you can vote no and select a candidate, or you can vote yes and not select a candidate.”

Each county had to report its estimated election cost to the state. Monterey County reported the recall election would cost them $2.9 million, Santa Cruz reported a cost of $1.3 million and San Benito County reported $391,000.

San Benito and Santa Cruz County said they are fully staffed for the days leading to election day. But Monterey County said they still need poll workers and interested residents are encouraged to contact the office of elections.

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a former multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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