Stanislaus County is making changes during this year’s election in order to ensure voting is easier for the public.
On Feb. 29, a Registrar of Voters satellite office will open at the Stanislaus County Community Services Agency offices at 1310 W. Main St., in Turlock — one of four such offices that the county is opening in rural, outlying towns ahead of the March 3 primary election.
“I’m just trying to add convenience for voters,” Registrar of Voters Donna Linder said. “For voters who aren’t sure where to go, this is a great opportunity for them just to go to the satellite office and that way they don’t have to drive all the way to Modesto to our office.”
Turlock’s satellite office will be fully-staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 29 through March 2 and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 3 during the primary. Voters from any precinct in the county can request help with their ballots and receive the correct ballot type, find their correct polling place, register to vote or drop off their vote-by-mail ballots, which can also be left with the City Clerk at Turlock’s City Hall in a drop-off box.
Voters can also vote early on Saturday, Sunday or Monday at the satellite office.
“If they’re just really busy on Tuesday or if they work out of town or something, they can go there and vote on the weekend,” Linder said. “It’s more opportunity for voters to be able to vote.”
Now, voters can also register to vote from the 14th day before an election through Election Day at the satellite office using Conditional Voter Registration. Voters can register to vote and vote all in the same day, making the satellite office a one-stop-shop for voting needs.
“It’s all about convenience for the voter, and it also ensures they’re receiving the correct ballot type,” Linder said.
This is the first time Stanislaus County has implemented satellite offices throughout the entire county, Linder added, though a satellite office was used last November during a small election in Oakdale. It was during that same election that Stanislaus County tried out its new voting machines for the first time, which will be used at polling places throughout the county on March 3.
Stanislaus County’s previous voting equipment was originally purchased in 2004, so when California Secretary of State Alex Padilla sent word last February that all technology acquired prior to 2014 would no longer be certified, new voting machines were purchased.
The county received public input and ultimately purchased ADA-compliant voting machines from HART InterCivic, Inc.
Voters cast their ballots on a screen similar to a tablet, Linder explained, which then prints out the full ballot for review. It’s then run through the scanner for the votes to be tallied. Those who may be uncomfortable with voting via screen need not fear, she added, as voters will still be able to bubble in their choices the old-fashioned way if they prefer to do so.
During their trial run in Oakdale last November, they were utilized by voters and poll workers alike without a hitch.
“It’s lightweight and intuitive,” Linder said. “The poll workers took right to it and we had no problems on election morning.”
Linder took time to remind voters who intend to participate in the March 3 primary to check that they are registered with the party they’d like to vote for in order to receive the correct ballot. For more information or help registering to vote, visit stanvote.com.