SAN MATEO, CA — Voting in the November Presidential Election may look a little different this year, with many ballots already cast by mail. But you can still cast or hand off your ballot in person this year — and you can do it early or on Election Day.
Dubbed “vote centers” rather than “polling places,” physical voting locations will also be a bit different than in years past.
The amount of in-person polling places in California will be limited compared to previous elections, in accordance with a law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in August, but some vote centers already opened up as early as Oct. 24.
Centers are required to remain open Saturday through Monday Nov. 2 for at least eight hours each day and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Although every registered and active voter in California was already mailed a ballot in October, polling places will still be open for same day voter registration, for those who need assistance with language or disabilities — or for those who simply want to witness the historic election day unfold.
In San Mateo, five vote centers will will open on Saturday. There are also eight drop-off locations available throughout San Mateo.
The Beresford Recreation Center, the Church of San Mateo, San Mateo Co. Event Center, San Mateo Main Library and the Registration and Elections Division Vote Center will all be open beginning Saturday and through Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Addresses of each location can be found here.
To find more voting locations in San Mateo County, click here.
All of these changes to voting in California this year are to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Vote center volunteers and employees are required to space voting booths apart, sanitize surfaces and encourage those waiting in line to socially distance.
Voters are encouraged to arrive with a face covering, but those who show up without will be provided one.
Some of the first vote centers opened in California Oct. 21; in Los Angeles, hundreds lined up outside the Staples Center waiting to vote in person.
In California and more than 21 million ballots were mailed to California voters and an astonishing 7 million ballots have already been cast in this historic election.
More election coverage in California from Patch: CA Elections 2020