California residents automatically sent mail-in ballot during COVID-19 pandemic

Ventura County residents given three ways to return mail-in ballots, or in person.

Ventura County overwhelmingly votes Democratic candidate  Joe Biden.

Photo Courtesy of The New York Times

Ventura County overwhelmingly votes Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Following an Executive Order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom in May, every California resident was sent a vote-by-mail ballot by their county election officials. 

“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy,” Newsom said. “No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote.” 

In Ventura County voters have three options of how to return their ballots. Voters can drop off their ballot at one of the 33 county ballot drop boxes. Starting Oct. 31, voters can drop off their ballots at one of the 47 in-person voting locations. Additionally, voters can return their ballots by mail, but they must be postmarked by Nov. 3.

“For the November election, we are accepting ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 up to 17 days after the election,” Spokesperson with Ventura County Clerk/Recorder’s Office and Elections Division Miranda Nobriga said to VC Reporter

In the 2016 Presidential Election, 218,696 people voted by mail in Ventura County. 72% of Ventura County voters are already permanently registered to vote by mail. 

Chase Willet / Talon

Many people find that mail-in ballots are more convenient than voting in person. Voting in person only takes place on one day, Tuesday Nov. 3, but voters can fill out their ballot at any time prior to Nov. 3 if they vote by mail. 

“You can do it at your convenience, which is nice,” Oak Park High School government and world history teacher Jackson Hall said. “I filled out my ballot on Sunday, which is awesome. I didn’t have anything else going on so I could sit down and take the time to read all the props and figure out how I wanted to vote. I didn’t have to worry about rushing to a poll.”

As of Oct. 22, the number of early votes cast broke the record for all of the votes that were cast before Election Day in 2016.

“Mailing ballots [has] been a good reform that some states have used to increase voter turnout,” Hall said. 

According to Oak Park Independent School senior Delaney Dauchy, who voted for the first time this year, it was a very exciting experience. She noted that voting by mail made the process easier.

“It was very easy to vote by mail because I felt that I could take my time,” Dauchy wrote to the Talon. “I did not feel rushed and it made the voting experience a lot more relaxing than I thought it would be.”

Ventura County votes in favor of Joe Biden by approximately 22%. (Photo Courtesy of The New York Times)

There have been some reports of groups in Ventura County who are promoting unofficial ballot drop boxes. Unofficial ballot boxes that are promoted as official or secure can confuse voters and cause them to return their ballot to the incorrect place and possibly not have their ballot counted if it is not received.

As voting has come to a close, the results of Ventura County have been released, with a majority margin in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.