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Early voting centers in counties across California opened on Monday, and ballots are being mailed to every registered voter in an unprecedented move by the state, including registered Orange Coast College students.

Lizette Mata, the Deputy Secretary of State Operations, who oversees the California Students Vote Project, urges students to register and vote. 

“This Nov. 3 General Election is arguably the most important election of our lifetimes,” Mata said. “Students will have a chance to make their voices heard on key issues, policies, and elected officials, including the presidential race. In order for student voices to be heard in this crucial election, we must all work together to engage our students to not only register to vote, but also turn out to the polls.”

Due to COVID-19, California has adjusted its voting procedures to follow state health guidelines, by giving voters more time to vote this election, implementing a system to help voters track their ballots, and requiring one physical voting poll per 10,000 people. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in May requiring all registered, eligible voters to receive a ballot by mail.

In Orange County, voters have the option to personally bring their ballot to drop off locations. The TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex at 980 Arlington Dr. in Costa Mesa will be the closest voting location to Orange Coast College and opens Oct 5. There are also ballot drop-off locations at Coastal Senior Center, OCDE at Esplande, and Mesa Verde Branch Library.

Anyone registered to vote in Orange County can vote at any of the nearly 200 voting centers. Voters can use this link to estimate the wait time at each voting center and find other voting tips. The digital Vote Center Learning Library can offer additional information.

Drive-thru voting centers will also be available to Orange County voters at the end of the month, including Costa Mesa City Hall located at 77 Fair Drive between Newport Blvd. and Vanguard Drive. It will be open from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Nov. 3, Election Day, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. This will help residents maintain social distancing while voting. 

In addition, Orange County residents have the option of pop-up mobile voting centers that will start on Oct. 24 in Laguna Regional Park, and pop-up around Orange County until Nov 2. Services offered at the mobile voting centers include in-person voting, ballot replacement and voter registration. 

Orange County has a voting center supersite at the Honda Center in Anaheim. It will open from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. This supersite will offer a variety of amenities, such as large facilities  for social distancing and plenty of parking. The supersite will offer services like drive-thru voting, ballot drop off, in-person voting and resolving voting issues. 

Voters who choose to cast their vote in-person are strongly encouraged by the Secretary of State’s office to bring their mail-in ballot to exchange for a ballot at the polling center. 

Voters who chose to mail-in their ballots can use this tracker offered by the state. It tracks when ballots are mailed, received and counted. Ballot notifications are available for voters by email, text or phone call. Check an estimate of how many ballots have been mailed in Orange County at this link

All counties in California will be processing their own ballots. Orange County is represented by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

Visit Vote.Ca.Gov, a Secretary of State ran website that offers a plethora of information to voters for additional information or questions.

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