Pandemic places precautionary measures on how we vote

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Voting methods have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tania Ortiz, Opinion Editor

Voting during a pandemic has become a major issue as election day gets closer. 

States including California are taking precautionary methods to ensure that everyone gets a chance to vote this election cycle.

Seeing as the stakes are high for this election —from local to federal—there is no excuse to skip out on this one.

In our state, voting started on Oct. 5, after ballots were mailed out to registered voters. This precautionary measure was set in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the state.

Voters have the choice to mail back their ballots once filled out through the United States Postal Service (USPS) or to deposit it at one of the 126 drop off locations around the county. More importantly, polling places will be opened Oct. 31 leading up to election day on Nov. 3.

Having multiple options gives us an opportunity to plan how we can go vote and remain safe during these unprecedented times. Considering that many of us are working, taking care of our families or focusing on our academics, having a variety of options makes it easier for us to fulfill our civic duty.

As I’ve mentioned, the stakes are very high for this election. Across the nation, we have witnessed an influx in voter registration. 

In California, as of Sept. 4, there are 21,240,236 registered voters, constituting around 85 percent of eligible voters in the state, and one million votes have already been cast for this election cycle.

I have confidence in the methods placed for this election. It places the voters first, making sure they feel safe when they are casting their ballot. Especially with the USPS controversy that happened months back, there has been a concern with how ballots are going to be returned on time.

Luckily, California has a ballot tracking system that notifies voters when their ballot has been received and counted. This tool is great for every voter to use because it ensures that our ballots will be received at the county’s voting registrar office.

But you can’t have an election without a little bit of scandal (at least during the political climate that we are in). 

Recently, we have seen unauthorized ballot boxes placed by the California GOP, which created confusion in our state. 

Although the California Secretary of State and Attorney General have eased threats of legal action on the California GOP after sending a cease and desist letter, the unauthorized ballot boxes are still being used.

If you want to be sure your vote will count, stick to dropping off your ballots at official locations or authorized drop off ballot boxes. It’s a safe bet to take that route and the reasons are self-explanatory.

This is my first time voting for a presidential election and I am excited to participate this time around because every vote is crucial to the results on Nov. 3. I plan to drop off my ballot at my local library that is an official location.

Make plans on how you’ll be voting if you haven’t already. I don’t think that there is a choice to not vote. 

Please do not procrastinate on voting, it is important that our voices get heard.  

 Register to track your ballot: california.ballottrax.net/voter/ 

To find ballot drop off locations: sdvote.com/content/dam/rov/en/pdf/Mail_Ballot_Drop_Off_Locations.pdf

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California