Registrar: Send vote-by-mail ballots in early

It’s about a week from the deadline and fewer than one-quarter of Merced County’s vote-by-mail ballots have been submitted, according to the Registrar of Voters Office.

Registrar Barbara Levey said she wants to remind voters that vote-by-mail ballots must reach the registrar’s office no later than 8p.m. on Election Day, which is Tuesday. Postmarks will not be a consideration, she said.

Of the 21,293 ballots issued in the Merced County elections, 4,187 have been returned through last week.

Levey said voters are “strongly encouraged” to return ballots earlier than Election Day, because they must be processed before they are counted. The processing, which consists of verifying the signature on each ballot, can slow the tallying of votes.

Merced, Los Banos and the Turlock Irrigation District are holding elections.

Secure ballot boxes are available, the release stated, for those who would like to deliver the ballots in person. The boxes are available at Merced City Hall, 678 W. 18th St.; Los Banos City Hall, 520 J St.; and the Merced County Elections Office, 2222 M St., Room 14.

A 46-cent stamp is required to send a vote-by-mail ballot, the release stated.

Officials say ballots sent through the mail can be tracked online at by clicking on the “Vote-By-Mail Ballot Tracker.” There voters can “securely and confidentially ensure that their ballot was received,” the release stated.

Polls are to be open Tuesday from 7a.m. to 8p.m. For questions about the elections or voting, call the Merced County Registrar of Voters office at (209)385-7541.