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San Diego Officials Prepare For Surge Of Voters Ahead Of Election Day

Voters check in and cast their ballots in the back room of the Registrar of V...

Photo by Shalina Chatlani

Above: Voters check in and cast their ballots in the back room of the Registrar of Voters office, Oct. 28, 2020.

The registered number of voters in San Diego this year is at an historic high, with nearly 300,000 more registered voters than in the 2016 election. County officials say they are prepared for a potential surge next week up to election night.

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu says he anticipates a higher number of voters to stop by as election day nears.

Listen to this story by Shalina Chatlani.

“A lot has changed this year in terms of how voters are going to be able to cast their ballot because of the coronavirus pandemic,” Vu said. “And that includes procedures at the Registrar of Voters office. If you look behind me you can see that the office has already moved things around to a surge of voters on election day and four days ahead.”

The Registrar’s office is bustling and that’s because voters are showing up early to cast their ballots.

“We are in the east side of our warehouse, what you saw before has now lifted and shifted,” Vu said.

Reported by Shalina Chatlani , Video by Andi Dukleth

The shift is to provide more socially distanced voting booths and meet demand. It’s the first time voters can cast their ballot in this room with more than 80 ballot-marking devices and 40 voter check-in stations.

“We have over 875,000 mail ballots that have been returned. This time in 2016 we had many less than that. Over 450,000 more in this election than in 2016. Now in 2016’s election, when I certified that election we had over 875,000 mail ballots that were cast ... again we are now over that number and we still have 6 days before election day,” Vu said.

“If this trend continues, we could see ourselves having a percentage turn out that’s north of 80%,” he said.

Vu said voters are heeding the call to vote safer in the county, but still advises that voters be prepared for in-person voting delays.

“Bring patience. At the end of the day we want to make sure that everyone understands that this is going to be the largest turnout election in four years," he said. "Potentially in the history of the county.”

His hope is that efforts of voters to cast their ballots in a timely manner will lessen the lines and crowds on election day, Vu said.

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Photo of Shalina Chatlani

Shalina Chatlani
Science and Technology Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover all things science and technology — from the biotech industry in San Diego to rooftop solar energy on new homes. I'm interested in covering the human side of science and technology, like barriers to entry for people of color or gender equity issues on biotech boards.

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