Whether volunteer, official or voter, Election Day important to Santa Paulans
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: November 14, 2012
Whether volunteer, official or voter, Election Day was important to Santa Paulans who went to the polls November 6.
Voters were already lined up at the polling place at Heritage Valley Christian Fellowship on North Mill Street when the polls opened at 7 a.m., according to volunteers.
At about 9:15 a.m. Raquel Gonzalez said about 90 people had already voted. Although a first-time volunteer, Gonzalez had no problem providing a count of how many were registered in the precinct, “a little more than 1,000... the turnout seems good so far.”
Santana Lazos was spending his third Election Day helping voters, and said the June Primary Election drew a turnout of about 500 voters total.
Leslie Nichols strolled in to vote, noting that, unlike others who utilize the mail-in ballot, “I always come in and vote in person.”
Some with mail-in ballots dropped by the polling place to drop them off. As of October 3 the number of those opting to use mail-in ballots was approaching 50 percent countywide, according to County Clerk Recorder/Register of Voters Mark Lunn, who had urged voters to mail their completed ballots no later than the Tuesday before the election to ensure their vote would arrive in time to be counted. Mail-in ballots are counted only if they are received by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, no matter how early their postmark.
And with 426,948 registered voters in Ventura County, it’s no surprise the county likes to receive mail-in ballots as soon as possible to begin the counting process that takes longer than tabulating poll votes. Several voters were not aware that the mail-in ballot they dropped off at the Heritage Valley Christian Fellowship would not be counted until after the election, and vowed next time to take advantage of special ballot drop off locations set up weeks before election day.
College student and first time poll volunteer Arlene Perez was handing out “I Voted!” stickers, just one of the Election Day perks for volunteers and voters alike. Perez said she was “excited” to be a part of the election and would volunteer again.
At Santa Paula City Hall Council Chambers, former City Clerk Josie Guzman - contracted by the city to help newly appointed Deputy City Clerk Lucy Blanco with the process - was patiently waiting for the ballot boxes to come in. “Oh, it’s been pretty quiet,” said Guzman at about 9:30 p.m.
“Councilman Rick Cook stopped by; we’ve got Election inspectors, Sgt. Jimmy Fogata and our firemen” enjoying some light refreshments in return for their help. Guzman said that out of the total 11 precincts that must deliver boxes to City Hall, only five had been received so far.
Unlike years past when Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies were themselves delayed in their rounds, which in turn delayed vote counts, the official escorts of completed ballots had been waiting at City Hall since the polls closed at 8 p.m. “Hopefully,” said Guzman, “we’ll have everything by 10:30 p.m.”