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Avoiding Voting Frustrations This Election

Nov 03, 2016 01:31PM ● By Paul Spear

Avoiding Voting Frustrations This Election

As a Field Support Representative for the Registrar of Voters, I have had the privilege to serve Imperial Beach voters for the past few years by overseeing several polls during elections. I understand that it can sometimes be confusing and intimidating for any voter to navigate the process, especially when new rules apply almost every election. My hope is that I can give you some quick pointers to help you understand the terminology and process to help things go smoothly for both you and the poll workers.

The Sample Ballot Pamphlet sent to your home is your key to the process. This election will make San Diego County history as the first to have a two-page ballot. Using your pamphlet to become familiar with each contest will save you a lot of time at the polls. Don't assume that you will be voting at the same place as you have in previous elections. Check the mailing label on your pamphlet for the location and precinct where you are registered. Sometimes there will be two precincts at a single polling location. There should be signs in plain view near the entrance of the poll indicating where your specific precinct is located. You can vote at any polling place provisionally but the contests will be different for different municipalities. You can't vote for an Imperial Beach specific public office outside of the city limits.

In past elections, the busiest times are when the polls open at 7:00am until 8:30am, and again at 5:00pm until the polls close at 8:00pm. If you want to avoid waiting in line, it is best to arrive during the middle of the day when it's not so busy.

Many people voted provisionally in the last election. When you are asked to vote provisionally, this means that you are not voting in your assigned precinct and your name is not on the sheets provided to the poll worker. Another reason to vote provisionally is that you are registered as a mail voter and you did not bring your mailed ballot with you. By voting provisionally, your ballot will count after the Registrar's office confirms that you have not voted anywhere else and are a confirmed voter. This type of vote takes some time to fill out your information on the roster and placing your completed ballot in an envelope before being put in the ballot box. If you requested a mail ballot and don't wish to vote by mail in this election, you can still vote if you surrender your mail ballot at your assigned precinct. You can also drop someone else's mail ballot off at any precinct, but be sure that they have signed the envelope. 

You do not have to vote for everything on the ballot. You can skip some of the contests for any reason. Only the bubbles that are filled in will be counted. If you fill in more bubbles per contest than is indicated on the ballot, that vote will not be counted.

Don’t be afraid to ask your poll workers if you need assistance. For information not covered here, check out the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters website at You can find a sample ballot for your area, your assigned precinct number and election results.

Get out there and vote!!


 Article c/o Nadine Braudaway 

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