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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Election Workers Learning To Register Same-Day Voters At New Satellite Offices

Speaker 1: 00:00 A big turnout is expected in next week's election for new satellite elections. Centers are opening this weekend around San Diego County for people who want to avoid long lines on election day and they can help people who waited to the last minute to register to vote. Joining me as KPBS reporter, Taron mento and Taryn welcome. Thank you. Voters in California can now register and vote on the same day. Is that the reason for these centers? It's a big part of it. The law was passed a couple of years ago, but now voters can register and vote on the same day at polling locations previously that could only happen at the registrar's office. And so they're trying to eliminate a bottleneck happening at the 1500 polling locations that they have. But then there's also the issue of a lot of nonpartisan voters who may have not told the registrar's office that they want to vote in the presidential election because you have to request a ballot for a political party if you're not registered to the political party. Speaker 1: 00:57 So these are the two issues that prompted the the election centers. So if you can go to your polling place on the same day and register to vote, why go to one of these satellite centers? Because of the long lines that could potentially occur in 2018 the midterm elections, which when turnout is is much less, there was long lines. I think Michael WGU, the registrar voters recently said that they caused a up to five hours. And so when we asked him, you know, why go there instead of a polling location, this is what we had. He had to say, Speaker 2: 01:25 this is really important because we're hoping that this will mitigate some of the lines that we saw during the November, 2018 election. Speaker 1: 01:32 Right? So right there he's saying, Hey, let's not repeat this. We know that this causes long lines, so let's encourage people to go to satellite centers that are just better equipped with more trained staff too, to help folks who didn't maybe wait till the last minute. And when you register late at any location, you get a provisional ballot. What is that and is it counted just like a regular ballot? Eventually it is, but it's set off to the side at first so they can make sure that you didn't go to a different location and vote there that you didn't send in a mail ballot if you are a mail ballot voter. So they want to make sure that you, you aren't voting in two places. So they set it off to the side, verify that you know you are registered to vote, um, and that you didn't vote elsewhere and then count it. Speaker 1: 02:15 So yes, but it's, there's some extra checking involved. And one of the yeah, things about these voting centers is that they can check at the voting center whether or not you're registered, right? So they have the electronic voter rolls there. So you can walk up and say, Hey, I don't know if I'm registered and they can check there. So that way, you know, if you go to a polling location, they don't have that. So you might walk in, not know if you're registered or you might think you are registered and you not be. So then you're registering conditionally voting provisionally where they have the information there at these satellite centers to get you the correct answer. And if you're already registered, you can go in and just vote it one of these satellite centers, right? Correct. Yeah. If you want to vote early, typically you could go down to the registrar's office. Speaker 1: 02:56 This is creating those opportunities at four other areas in the County so you don't have to go all the way to the registrar's office and they're also on transit lines. So it makes it easier to get to one of these satellite offices if you don't have your own car or other form of transportation. How has the registrar, I've been trying to get the word out about these voting centers. I'm sure registrar, Michael WGU was just exhausted from the amount of interviews that he's been doing. Press conferences that he's had a appearance on, morning television, a new shows. I mean he's been on our program a day edition a number of times just talking about this. So he's just trying to make himself available. The County news center, the county's, um, information website has been putting out information about this, um, you know, social media. So there's a lot of avenues. Speaker 1: 03:40 And earlier they did send out these uh, notice cards to nonpartisan voters letting them know, Hey, this is how you're registered. If you want a ballot for any of these parties, you want to vote in the Republican presidential candidate, democratic presidential candidate, this is what you have to do. So they have been sending a lot of notices directly to people and through the media as well. And of course this year voters will be using new voting machines at polling places and these satellite centers, is that expected to be a challenge for voters and for poll workers? Change is always a challenge. So they are working at, especially at these satellite centers, they're working to have people trained very specifically in this technology, how to use it and how to assist people that might be frustrated with it. I talked to an instructor at one satellite center who was talking about the, the trainees were kind of roleplaying going back and forth about, you know, to present situations that they may encounter on election day. Speaker 1: 04:34 And she said some people really got into it and were kind of coming off a little bit rude or combative to make sure that everybody could respond to any type of situation that may occur leading up to Andela on election day. You spoke to a woman who will be working at one of the satellite voting centers. Tell us a little bit about her. Right. Nancy Riley. She's 70. She's retired, but she needed to do, just to kind of supplement her income a little bit. She needed to have what she called her fun jobs and she had rules. They had to be temporary, so there had to be a start and an end date. And so when this opportunity came up, she said, that fits my fun job. She, one of her fun jobs was working, uh, up in Alaska at a fishing lodge for six months. Little bit of a different challenge up there. Speaker 1: 05:18 And what was her biggest worry about election day? That it's going to be a really long day. Voting on election day is 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM they have to get there early. So she's going to be there at 6:00 AM she said. And then you know, with counting all of the ballots and moving everything around and closing everything down, she's going to be there until about 11 o'clock. So she said just making it through that long day is what she was worried about. Now getting back to what we were talking about, the locations of the voting centers that we, we have them on our website@kpbs.org and@sdvote.com but in general, can you tell us where they are right there. I'm in the South region, the North region. Um, there's also the central region, the registrar, that's all you can do, all of these things. So you've got one in Chula Vista, San Marco, spring Valley, Carmel mountain ranch. And they're usually at a community centers. And so again, Michael WGU said they specifically chose these locations because of the transit lines that can get people there to make it easier on people to, to be able to access these facilities. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Taren mento. Taryn. Thank you. Thank you. Speaker 3: 06:22 [inaudible].

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County officials are launching four temporary voting sites staffed with specially trained workers to help San Diegans register to vote in the final days leading up to the election.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments