Although Tuesday’s general election is still a few days away, nearly half of Turlock voters have already returned their ballots in California’s first all vote-by-mail election.
According to Political Data Inc., California’s largest provider of voter information to political campaigns, 46 percent of voters in Turlock have returned their ballots. There were 37,864 ballots mailed out to registered Turlock voters, and so far, 17,498 have been returned. There are still 20,366 ballots yet to be returned in Turlock.
Of the 14,326 ballots mailed to Turlock voters registered as Republican, 6,554, or 46 percent, have been returned. There were 13,342 ballots sent out to registered Democrats in Turlock, and 7,295, or 55 percent, have been returned so far.
The age group of 65 and up has been the most proactive in returning their ballots, with 69 percent, or 5,623 of 8,182 returned so far. Next is the age group of 50 to 64, who have turned in 53 percent of their ballots, followed by those 35 to 49 (39 percent) and 18 to 34 (31 percent). The youngest age group received the most ballots with 11,388, yet only 3,478 of those have been returned.
While every registered voter in Stanislaus County received a postage-paid ballot in their mailboxes this year, they do not have to turn it in by using the postal system. In an upgrade from the four satellite offices set up during the March primary election, there is now one voting center for every 10,000 voters where those who don’t want to send in their ballots can drop them off. Voters can also receive device or language assistance at these locations or replace a misplaced ballot.
Satellite office locations in Turlock include the Assyrian American Civic Club (2618 N Golden State Blvd.), Stanislaus County Fairgrounds (900 N Broadway Bldg. E7), Ten Pin Fun Center (3700 Countryside Dr.) and Turlock CSA Epic Center (275 3rd St.). In Denair, a satellite office is located at the Denair Community Center (3850 N. Gratton Rd.) and Keyes residents can visit a satellite office at the Keyes Community Center (5506 Jennie Ave.).
Satellite offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through Nov. 2, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.
In addition, the County has worked with a variety of locations to allow for indoor, outdoor and curbside drop boxes where ballots can also be placed. These drop boxes are in plain sight of the business where they are located and contain bags that are sealed when the drop box is opened by elections staff.
In Turlock, indoor ballot drop boxes are located at Turlock City Hall (156 S Broadway), Turlock CSA South County Service Center (1310 W Main St.), Save Mart (2595 Geer Rd.) and FoodMaxx (1845 Countryside Dr.). There are no indoor or outdoor drop boxes in Keyes or Denair, nor are there outdoor drop boxes in Turlock. There are a couple of curbside ballot drop off locations in Turlock, however, at Stanislaus State (1 University Circle) and the Turlock Silvercrest Senior Residence (865 Lander Ave.).
Curbside ballot drop-off locations will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.
While Turlock voters are surely anticipating casting a vote for President of the United States, there are also plenty of decisions to be made on ballots this year which will impact governments at the local level.
Turlock voters will need to decide on several races, including Congressional District 10; State Assembly District 12; Superior Court Judge Office 5; Yosemite Community College District Area 3; Turlock City Council Districts 2 and 4; City of Turlock Treasurer and Turlock Unified School District Trustee Areas 1 and 5.
Turlock residents will also have to decide whether to vote “yes” or “no” on Measure A, a ¾ cent sales tax measure, also known as the City of Turlock’s 911 Safety/Emergency Medical Response, Community Services Measure. If approved by a simple majority of voters, Measure A is estimated to provide $11 million in revenue annually to fund City of Turlock services by increasing the sales tax from 7.875 percent to 8.625 percent. Measure A includes accountability requirements, annual independent financial audits, citizen oversight, and public disclosure of spending. By law, all Measure A funds must remain in Turlock and cannot be taken by the county or state government.
The revenue generated through the sales tax could be used to fund a variety of purposes, from public safety to road improvements to other community needs.
Statewide, there are 12 propositions for voters to decide on, the most-discussed being Proposition 22, which would exempt app-based transportation and delivery companies from providing employee benefits to certain drivers, as well as Proposition 12, which would increase funding for schools, community colleges and local government services by changing tax assessment of commercial and industrial property.