Saturday marks day one of in-person voting in Santa Barbara County
In-person polling places officially opened on Saturday, and some residents of Santa Barbara County chose to vote early at one of the 35 in-person polling places throughout the county.
However, because of concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the 65 available ballot drop boxes, many residents chose to drop their ballots off on the curb in front of in-person polling places or at one of the drop boxes.
Dana and Sharon Morrow were among the residents who dropped their ballots off, due to the efficiency. They voted at the Carrillo Recreation Center at 100 E. Carrillo St.
“We were actually planning on going in and voting,” Mr. Morrow told the News-Press. “There’s hardly anyone in there. We would have gone in but she (the poll watcher) said, ‘As long as you have it filled out already, stick it in the envelope.’ It seems so easy.”
“We were just anxious to get it done,” Mrs. Morrow added.
On the other hand, some voters preferred voting in person with safety precautions in place.
“I felt safe … nobody coughing or hacking or anything else,” Richard Perez told the News-Press after voting inside at the Carrillo Recreation Center. “I feel it’s more secure voting in person and turning it in by hand instead of counting on somebody else to deliver it.”
With all of the COVID-19 protocols at the polling places, most voters said they felt safe going and voting in person.
“They spread people out in the room so you’re not close to anybody,” Natalie Guillocheau told the News-Press. She said she votes every year, but she made sure to vote in person this year after losing the ballot that was mailed to her house.
The polling place locations are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
According to the poll watcher information, there are maximum capacity limits at each polling place location, to ensure social distance is maintained. Voting booths are all six feet apart, masks are required and hand sanitizer is provided.
The purpose of the polling place election observers is to observe the proceedings to make sure there is no interference with conduct of any part of the voting process.
Polling place election observers are not permitted to stand behind the check-in tables; converse with poll workers or voters to interfere or delay; intimidate or impede; converse with voters within 100 feet of the entrance relating to casting a vote or qualifications to vote; display any campaign material or wear campaign badges, buttons or apparel; or use cell phones, pagers or two-way radios inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the entrance.