SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Voter, Lorena Mendoza, dropped off her ballot at the Monterey County Elections office, Monday. "Our vote makes a difference. We have to make it count," said Mendoza.
Mendoza, and many others, want to make sure their vote is counted early. With only one week until election night, time is running out.
"We've received more ballots as of now then we did in the March election with vote-by-mail," said Monterey County Elections Office Program Manager, Anna Gutierrez.
Over 84,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been counted in Monterey County. The process typically starts just 10 days before the election. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, election offices across the state began in early October.
"Once the ballot arrives to our office, it goes through the scanner. We look at the signature. Once the signature is given the 'okay' we do extraction. We scan all the ballots," said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez said the extra time has made the process a lot smoother.
By election night, thousands will have helped to count ballots for Monterey County, so safety has been a priority. Workers are required to wear gloves, face masks, face shields and keep six-feet of distance from others when possible.
Precautions are taken for voters too. "We have staff at the front counter who disinfect constantly. If a voter comes in and uses a booth, they will then disinfect it and clean everything down," said Gutierrez.
Mendoza said she is voting for her son's future and wants to set an example for him to follow one day. "I want him to know that it is important. He does count. He can make a change for our country to be better," said Mendoza.