Deborah Seiler, San Diego County Registrar of Voters
Related Story: Mail-In Ballots Go Out Today
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Early voting in San Diego begins today. As it means we are approaching the end of a very long election cycle. But there are those who might be saying, so soon? The start of early voting can be a wake-up call to voters that they have important decisions to make and not much time left to make them joining me today on Midday Edition in San Diego is San Diego County registrar of voters Deborah Seiler and Deborah it is good to talk with you again.
DEBORAH SEILER: Nice to talk with you, Maureen.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do many San Diegans take advantage of early voting?
DEBORAH SEILER: Yes they do. As of this morning at 10 o'clock we already had 66 people come in to our office to vote. And of course the reason for that is lots of folks are going on vacation. They know that they are going to be gone they want to get in and make sure they take care of it.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Has the number of early voters been increasing?
DEBORAH SEILER: The number of early election voters varies from election to election and we really see it very with respect to the turnout for that particular election. Back in the 2008 election. Election, the last presidential general election I don't know if you recall but we had 20,000 voters come to our office lined up outside our building wrapped around the building and so forth. I don't know we have that many this year over the last four years we have promoted and the voters have really grown to the concept of permanent mail voting and that in a way will probably lessen somewhat the number of folks who need to come in here personally
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When you talk about coming here personally what are the options for early voter how do people do it besides mail-in votes?
DEBORAH SEILER: For early voting it is only at our office here at 5201 Ruffin Rd. in Kearny Mesa, and the voters just come in and they come into our suite K there is a sign directing them through the door and the friendly staff at the front counter will help them out.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And they can do that wherever their actual polling place is?
DEBORAH SEILER: That's correct. The office hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM and then on the Saturday before the election on Saturday, November 3, we will be open here also from 8 AM to 5 PM.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I don't think I said that correctly. No matter where they are supposed to actually go in their neighborhood to vote they can instead decide to go and early vote at the registrar of voters office.
DEBORAH SEILER: Yes That is correct. Any person in the County of San Diego can come to our office and vote early.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is it too late to register to vote, Deborah?
DEBORAH SEILER: No it is not and the deadline for voter registration is October 22. I'd like to emphasize that if I could because your listeners are probably aware that there was legislation signed to allow for same day registration. But that does not go into effect for that, this election. That will not go into effect for a couple years. Meanwhile he still have a 15 day close of registration and we will have a 15 day close of registration until the Secretary of State statewide voter registration database is fully functional.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see. Okay when will mail-in voters receive ballots
DEBORAH SEILER: Well those trucks have arrived and those deliveries are being made as we speak. Now today is not a mail delivery day, today is Columbus Day. Some counties are actually closed. Some counties observe it and some counties do not. Our county is open all day today. Regular but the mail deliveries will begin tomorrow. I don't know how many will actually be delivered into people's mailboxes tomorrow. My guess is it will probably be be Wednesday Thursday time. And through the rest of the week before but about 70,000 ballots are going into the mail.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Did you give the cutoff date for registering to vote?
DEBORAH SEILER: The registration deadline is midnight on Monday October 22
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And when is the cutoff to apply for and mail in a ballot?
DEBORAH SEILER: The cutoff is 5 PM on Tuesday, October 30. That is the last day that a person could send an email in a request to vote by mail. Early voting continues after that some people can still come into the office up to and including voting day if they come into the office but if they want the mail ballot sent to them and they want to mail the application in, that is due on Tuesday, October 30.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And sample ballots have already gone out, right Deborah?
DEBORAH SEILER: Yes we already have 1 million sample ballots already in the mail, and the remaining ballots are going in tomorrow and Wednesday.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We've heard a lot recently about the breakdown in terms of party affiliation sort of going back and forth between Republican and Democratic voters. What is that flip-flopping about?
DEBORAH SEILER: well I think it has to do with the level and intensity of voter registration drives that are occurring throughout the county. Sometimes it seems like the Republicans are out there and we see a lot of circulation among Republican party members. Then at other times it seems to be the Democrats.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The number of decline to state I believe has increased, is that right?
DEBORAH SEILER: Yes it has. I believe interestingly the number has declined up to pretty close to 25% currently and I think part of the reason for that is really now with the new primary election structure it doesn't really matter what your political party preference is because you get the same ballot as every other ballot voter in the county so you are not getting a specific demographic Democratic list of candidates or Republican because all of those goes on the same ballot
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now for the general election you referenced 2008 that was incredible turnout. What kind of turnout are you expecting for November 6 both on election day November 6 and by mail in early voting?
DEBORAH SEILER: I anticipate for this election we are unlikely to see the almost 84% turnout that we saw in 2008. But typically the turnout for presidential general is the highest in the four-year cycle of elections and so I'm looking at a turnout somewhere between maybe 75 to 80%. There's enough a lot of very important contests on the ballot. Supporters have a lot to decide.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: My last question to you if voters have questions about their registered or any other registration questions how can they find out, Deborah?
DEBORAH SEILER: They can always call the office we have lots of folk staffing hotline and that number is 858-565-5800.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Terrific. I have been speaking with Deborah Seiler, San Diego County registrar of voters. Thank you so much.
DEBORAH SEILER: You're welcome.