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San Diego Registrar of Voters unveils new drop boxes as ballots go out to voters

Ballots started getting mailed out over the weekend, and voters in San Diego County have a new way to send them back to be counted.

On Monday, Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes unveiled new, stand-alone ballot drop boxes that voters can use to cast their ballots. She said it's very secure and voters can be assured their votes won't be tampered with.

“It's made of high-grade stainless steel. It has tamper evident measures — security measures," she said. "It also has a very thin space to insert the ballot. It has double locking mechanisms in the doors. So it just provides another convenient accessible option for turning in your ballot.”


In addition, there are heavy-duty chains to secure the boxes in place to prevent someone from ripping them out. These are the same boxes that have been used in Los Angeles and Orange counties for the last couple of years.

There are 141 of them throughout the county. Click here for a list of locations.

With ballots heading to voters' mailboxes, Paes says residents don't have to wait until election day to cast their ballots. They can do it as soon as they receive their ballots.

"I did today," she said. "I actually dropped mine in (the new drop box)."

While drop boxes are convenient, some voters don't think they are necessary. San Diego resident Stephen Scimone, who votes by mail, said there are plenty of other places to drop off your ballots.


"You can do it by mail or you can drop it off at the polling place. So to me, like I said, I guess it seems unnecessary,” Scimone said. "It just gives people another way just to vote, just so that it's there. They're making it easy, but it's almost too easy."

Ballot drop boxes are required by California law. The official boxes are red, white and blue with the registrar's logo and county seal.

Despite the ease of voting, Paes predicts voter turnout to hover around 65%, which she said is decent for a non-presidential election year.

"The presidential primary [turnout]... in 2020 was 83%, and we typically see higher turnout in the presidential year," Paes said. "So for this election, I would anticipate 65%."

Voter turnout in the 2018 gubernatorial election was 60% and in the 2021 recall election, the turnout was 66%.