With Election Day this Tuesday, Nov. 3, Santa Cruz County voters have plenty of options for casting their ballot.
Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin says a record number of county voters—more than 168,000—received ballots in the mail this year, joining voters across California in a first-of-its-kind effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 by allowing voting from home.
Once ballots are ready, they can be dropped off in one of the 24-hour drop boxes throughout the county by 8pm on Election Day. Voters can also take their ballots to one of several designated locations, including voting locations. The county has sites where voters can get replacement ballots, register to vote, and vote on the same day. Find the full details below.
Voters who want to mail their ballot should make sure they are postmarked by Nov. 3 by going into the post office to have them stamped, Pellerin said.
Casting your ballot
It’s important to know that it is not necessary to mark every section. Leaving an option blank—or even marking only one—will not invalidate your ballot.
Returning your ballot
The elections department is providing several options to return ballots:
1. Drop it off at one of the 24-hour ballot drop boxes by 8pm on Election Day
2. Drop it off at one of the inside ballot drop boxes.
3. Return it in person to a voting location.
The ballot drop boxes will be located at the following locations and available 24/7 until 8pm on Nov. 3:
- Aptos – Public Library, 7695 Soquel Drive
- Aptos – Polo Grounds, 2255 Huntington Drive
- Aptos – Cabrillo College by football stadium, 3732 Cabrillo College Drive
- Ben Lomond – Highlands Park, 8500 Highway 9
- Boulder Creek – Library, 13390 W. Park Ave.
- Capitola – City Hall, 420 Capitola Ave.
- Capitola – Shopping Mall (near entrance on Capitola Road), 1855 41st Ave.
- Felton – Covered Bridge Park, Mt. Hermon/Graham Hill Road
- Santa Cruz – County Gov. Center, 701 Ocean St.
- Santa Cruz – Public Library, 212 Church St.
- Santa Cruz – UCSC Quarry Plaza
- Scotts Valley – City Hall, 1 Civic Center Drive
- Watsonville – Parking Lot 14, 316 Rodriguez St.
- Watsonville – County Health Center, 1430 Freedom Blvd.
- Watsonville – Corralitos Community Center, 35 Browns Valley Road
- County Elections, Simpkins Swim Center and City Clerks will have ballot return boxes.
Voters may also return their ballot inside one of the locations below that are open during regular business hours:
- County Elections: 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz
- Santa Cruz City Clerk: 809 Center St., Santa Cruz
- Simpkins Swim Center: 979 17th Ave., Santa Cruz
- Capitola City Clerk: 420 Capitola Ave., Capitola
- Watsonville City Clerk: 275 Main St., Watsonville
- Watsonville Public Library: 275 Main St., 1st Floor, Watsonville
Any voter can go to any location. Voting services available include obtaining a replacement ballot, turning in the ballot that was mailed to you, using a tablet to vote on an accessible ballot or a ballot in Spanish, and registering and voting on the same day.
The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) will provide free local transit rides county-wide on all fixed routes, including the Highway 17 Express, on Election Day. “This free fare day will provide a touchless boarding process without the need to navigate fare payment, minimize interaction between riders and operators, and reduce boarding times at bus stops,” METRO said in a statement.
Tracking your ballot
Sign up to track your ballot at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov. Voters will receive email or text alerts when their ballot is mailed, when it is received by the county elections office, and if there is any problem with counting the ballot.
Given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, county health officials issued a statement asking that people hold virtual watch parties for monitoring election results rather than gathering in person.
“If you are planning to gather with people outside of your household, gather outdoors, wear a face covering, stay at least six feet away, and carry hand sanitizer,” the county said.
Find all the latest information on voting options and services at the Santa Cruz County Elections Department’s website: votescount.us.