New election process going well: officialsFree Access

Most county voters should have received ballots in mail

Voting in the upcoming March primary election in Mariposa County is about as simple of a process as anyone could want.

“You can vote in your pajamas with a cup of coffee in your hand,” said Keith Williams, Mariposa County clerk/treasurer/tax collector.

“It is going pretty good so far,” said Courtney Progner Morrow, chief deputy county clerk who oversees the elections process. “There’s nothing keeping me up at night.”

The big change in the election system is that everyone who is registered to vote gets a ballot mailed to their address. It was a change allowed by the California Legislature and approved by the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors.

The idea is to have as many people use mail-in ballots as possible. In the past, all voters had the option of having a mail-in ballot; now, all voters get a ballot.

The first batch of ballots, around 10,400, went out to the voters last week. Another batch of around 500 went out this week.

Morrow said she will continue to send out ballots as more people register or if their address changes or for whatever reason.

“I think it’s easier,” said Morrow of the voting process.

She hopes that since everyone gets a ballot, more people will actually cast votes in the election.

There is no charge to mail the ballots back as that is picked up by the taxpayers. In the long run, Morrow said this new system should save the county money once any bugs or quirks have been worked out. To date, she said, all of the tests indicate the system is working fine.

As part of the new election process, a new computer system as well as new printers were purchased by the county, with the help of a large state grant aimed at improving voting systems.

Though mailing the ballots is free, the county is also providing drop boxes around the county where the ballots can be placed. (See list at the end of this story.)

Morrow said officials from Mariposa County Public Works are working with the elections office to collect those ballots on a regular basis. To ensure integrity, she said when one of the boxes is collected, an identical box is then placed in the location. The original box is sealed and Morrow said she confirms matching numbers on each of the boxes with officials where they are located.

For Morrow, election security is a top priority. She thinks the new system makes the process secure and also said it should mean ballots are counted more quickly on election night, which is set for March 3 this year. California moved up its primary election to become part of “Super Tuesday” voting around the nation.

Morrow said since the ballots were mailed, many people are returning them either through the mail or at the drop boxes. She said it has been “hectic” with the election just a few weeks away, but believes it is working.

“It’s been big time business as usual,” said Morrow, who added, “That’s a good thing.”

“I think we are doing okay so far,” said Williams.

The new system will still allow for people to cast their ballots at a voting place, though the number has been greatly reduced.

There will be four voting centers in the county, all open various hours leading up to election day. (See list below.)

People can also use a touch screen to vote, said Morrow. There is one available now at the elections office in Mariposa and they will also be available at the vote centers.

Morrow emphasized there is “no data stored” in the touchscreen machines. They are a “glorified pen,” said Morrow, meaning a person votes and then it is printed out and that person places it in a ballot box.

The county works closely with state officials, and Williams said voting information is available at www.sos.ca.gov, including registering to vote, checking your status and more. He encourages everyone to check out the website, saying it is easy to navigate. Information is also available on the county website at www.mariposacounty.org/election.

Voter Centers dates, hours
Mariposa County Elections Office
4982 10th Street, Mariposa
Feb. 22–March 2, 8 am.-5 p.m.
Election Day, March 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Bootjack Fire Department
3883 Bootjack Lane, Mariposa
Feb. 22–March 2, 8 am.-5 p.m.
Election Day, March 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Greeley Hill Public Library
10332 Fiske Road, Coulterville
March 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Election Day, March 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

El Portal Public Library
9670 Rancheria Flat Road, El Portal
March 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Election Day, March 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Ballot Drop Box Locations
(available through March 3)
Mariposa County Election Department parking lot
4982 10th Street, Mariposa
Available 24 hours

Lake Don Pedro Community Services District Office
9751 Merced Falls Rd., La Grange
Available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday,
7:30 a.m.– 2:30 p.m.

Yosemite Public Library, 9042 Village Drive, Yosemite National Park
Available Tuesday 1–6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Bassett Memorial Library
7971 Chilnualna Falls Road, Wawona
Available Monday, Wednesday, Friday, noon-5 p.m.;
Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Triangle Market & Mini Storage
3125 Triangle Road, Mariposa
Available Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.–9 p.m.;
Sunday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

One response to “New election process going well: officials”

  1. lucille@sti.net says:

    How many more times do I have to repeat this information before the Gazette wakes up to the fact that I have been a subscriber for over 30 years?

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