It would be hard not to find anyone who thinks the next election may be one of the most crucial in the history of the country.
The political climate in America is toxic — on both sides — and the interest is high in the Nov. 3 election that could go a long way in shaping the future of the nation.
There’s also the issue of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is expected to have a profound impact on how people vote. Many predict a large portion of the population will vote by mail.
In Mariposa County, that’s just another election.
For Courtney Morrow, the chief deputy county clerk, voting by mail is almost routine. Though the last election in the county was technically the first where all voting by mail was conducted, local voters for years have overwhelmingly chosen that method.
“We’re doing it again all by mail,” said Morrow.
Another major issue this year is the status of the U.S. Postal Service, which has been besieged by criticism in the past few months. That criticism focuses on what some say is a slowing of the mail brought on intentionally by the newly appointed postmaster general.
It is true that some of the blue mailboxes have been removed around the country and some sorting machines have been removed.
For locally, Mariposa County Clerk Keith Williams said he met with postal officials who assured him everything should run normally this election season.
Williams said he met with representatives of the postal service who are in charge of the West Sacramento region — which includes all of Mariposa County when it comes to mail service.
He said officials told him everything was “good” and election ballots should be handled as normal.
Still, Morrow said she is working to make sure ballots get out as soon as possible and is asking the public to return them in a timely manner.
“Turn them around as quickly as you can,” said Morrow.
Before that, however, she said people need to make sure their registration is correct.
A mailing is out this week to all registered voters in the county instructing them how to make sure they are property registered.
“This is a chance to check information,” said Morrow. “If it is not right, let us know.”
The flier being send out will have each person’s name and voting information included. Morrow said to check that immediately to make sure it is correct.
The mailer will also include locations of drop boxes for people who don’t want to mail their ballots via the post office. Morrow said she has added several drop box locations this cycle because of the high volume of votes expected.
Morrow said people have “been very cooperative” in agreeing to have voting drop boxes in their businesses or other locations. In the last election, libraries around the county were used as those locations, but with the pandemic, that has changed because those facilities, for the most part, remain closed.
She said, as always, election security is her main focus. For the drop box locations, she said the sealed ballot boxes are taken to those locations by county workers. Initials are required by the clerk’s office and the workers when moving the boxes. When they pick them up from a location, initials are also required. They are then brought back to the clerk’s office where they remain sealed.
That mailer is being printed and mailed by the county’s elections vendor and will be drop-shipped directly to the post office in West Sacramento.
Morrow said it is critical that people make sure everything is in order when they cast their ballots.
Not only is the post office situation an issue, she said voter registration has spiked, as well.
She said as of last week, there were 11,500 people registered to vote in Mariposa County, up close to a 1,000 more people than the previous election.
Morrow said it is “always” the case there is high turnout when it is a presidential election and this year will be no different. It is, though, the first time the county will be using the all-mail-voting system for a presidential election.
Voting, too, can be done in-person including at the clerk’s office in Mariposa. There will also be voting centers established in places around the county in the days leading up to the election, including election day.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Drop boxes will be at the following locations beginning on Oct. 5 through election day:
• Mariposa County Elections Department parking lot, 4982 10th Street , Mariposa. Available 24 hours.
• Lake Don Pedro Community Services District Office, 9751 Merced Falls Road, La Grange. Available Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
• Yosemite Public Library, 9042 Village Drive, Yosemite National Park. Available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Wednesdays, 1-6 p.m.
• Pine Tree Market, 7995 Chilnualna Falls Road, Wawona. Available during seasonal business hours. Visit www.mariposacounty.org for specific hours.
• Triangle Market & Mini Storage, 3125 Triangle Road, Mariposa. Available Monday through 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Sundays, 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
• The Oaks Deli & Gas, 4993 Hornitos Road, Catheys Valley. Available Monday-Friday 5 a.m.– 9:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 6 a.m.– 9:30 p.m.
• Coulter Café & General Store, 5015 Main Street, Coulterville. Available Thursday–Monday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Following are the vote center locations:
• Voter Centers – Mariposa County Elections Office, 4982 10th Street, Mariposa; Oct. 31–Nov. 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; election day, Nov, 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
• Bootjack Fire Department, 3883 Bootjack Lane, Mariposa; Oct. 31–Nov. 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., election day, Nov, 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
• Greeley Hill Public Library, 10332 Fiske Road, Coulterville; Nov. 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., election day, Nov, 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
• El Portal Public Library, 9670 Rancheria Flat Road, El Portal; Nov 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., election day, Nov, 3, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.