Registrar: Vote early, please

We may think of voting as an activity that involves going to a polling place on Election Day, standing in a booth and marking a ballot (or pushing a touch screen). Increasingly, that’s no longer the case.

This year in Butte County, for example, some 56,000 people, or nearly half of registered voters, have received vote-by-mail ballots—what used to be called absentee ballots but now can be obtained on a permanent basis.

Candace Grubbs (pictured), the county clerk-recorder and registrar of voters, reports that, as of Wednesday (Jan. 30), only 21,000 of them had been returned. “This is when I start getting really nervous,” she told the CN&R. She urged voters to get them in the mail by Friday (Feb. 1), so they will arrive by Election Day (Feb. 5). Ballots received after that date will not be counted.

For folks who like the ritual of going to the polls, ballots will be fill-in-the-bubbles paper cards this time around, thanks to Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s prohibition of touch screens. But Grubbs noted there will be a single touch screen booth at each precinct for disabled voters, and anyone who wishes to use it may do so.