Local Elections

Sacramento County sees increased number of early voters

Registrar of Voters for Sacramento County Jill LaVine said on Saturday that that her office has received 191,000 ballots out of 500,000 that were mailed out.
Registrar of Voters for Sacramento County Jill LaVine said on Saturday that that her office has received 191,000 ballots out of 500,000 that were mailed out. Sacramento Bee file photo

Voting is off to a strong start in Sacramento County this election season, as nearly 40 percent of mail ballots have been returned, according to the county election office.

On Saturday, Registrar Jill LaVine reported that her office has received 191,000 ballots out of 500,000 that were mailed out. A total of 775,000 people are registered to vote in the county, but only a portion have opted to vote by mail.

“They’ve amazed me,” LaVine said of voters. “I thought they would hold onto the ballots until the very end.”

While most of the early voting was done by mail, county election staff has opened up service centers on the weekends where the public can obtain and drop off ballots. The centers are at the Sacramento Central Library, 828 I St., Carmichael Library, 5605 Marconi Ave., and Elk Grove City Hall, 8401 Laguna Palms Way. Hours for Sunday are noon to 5 p.m.

At Elk Grove City Hall on Saturday, only a handful of voters stopped by to cast their ballots. Josh Wilkinson, 33, came with his three young children and wife out of convenience since he would be working on Tuesday, Election Day.

Describing the current state of American politics as “chaos,” Wilkinson said he was waiting for everything to be over.

“I just want to be done … so I don’t get stressed, so I don’t get swayed by what happens,” he said.

For Danny McGilvray, 42, casting his vote early was a no-brainer since he had decided long ago who to vote for. McGilvray said he chose Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump because the “country needs a change.”

“Take big government out and bring small government back in,” said McGilvray, a Yreka native who wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with the logo of the so-called “51st state of Jefferson,” a movement that advocates the separation of mostly rural areas of southern Oregon and Northern California.

LaVine said she was encouraged by registration and turnout numbers. Between June to November, 60,000 people registered to vote, according to election records.

“But just registering doesn’t mean they will actually vote,” she said.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

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