Special to the Village News
As local voters begin receiving their ballots in the mail – with instructions of when and where to vote – this year there is a new option. Voters for the Nov. 8 statewide General Election can take their completed ballots to un-manned voter boxes in some 141 locations in the county, including three in this area:
• The Fallbrook Branch Library, 124 S. Mission Road, open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Rainbow Municipal Water District offices, 3707 Old Hwy. 395, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Daniel's Market, 5256 S. Mission Road, open 24 hours a day through 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.
The first day the boxes were available was Monday, Oct. 10. People using the boxes can place their sealed ballots inside their security return envelope any time through Election Day.
These are stand-alone secure drop boxes. A Registrar of Voters spokesperson said there is no video surveillance of the boxes. Each ballot drop box is constructed from high grade, heavy gauge stainless steel and is designed to prevent physical damage and unauthorized access. The boxes feature double-locking access doors, anti-pry door jambs, and other anti-theft construction measures.
The ROV always requires a two-person chain of custody during transport and ballots are sealed in secure containers. The two-person ballot retrieval teams are responsible for collecting ballots on regular schedules pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, at least every 48 hours, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, after the 10th day prior to an election through the closing of the polls on Election Day, the spokesperson said.
She added that San Diego County plans to pick up more frequently than what is required in the regulations.
San Diego County's mail ballot drop box program was implemented in 2014 to provide an additional secure, accessible, and convenient option for voters to return their mail ballot. Each location (many were county and city libraries) was staffed with two election workers and a secure drop box to collect mail ballots during the week leading up to election day. This voluntary program continued to grow in number of locations each election cycle since then.
Now under current law, counties must provide one ballot drop box for every 15,000 registered voters beginning nearly a month before Election Day. They are stand-alone secure drop boxes. Each box is clearly marked with "Official Ballot Drop Box" in English and in all four of the county's federally covered languages.