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Breaking down registration deadlines and conditional voter registration

Posted at 7:20 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 22:20:47-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Monday, millions of ballots were mailed out and it's a historic first for the state because this election every registered voter in California will receive a mail in ballot. According to the Kern County Elections Office, Kern County has around 404,000 registered voters so far. Which is an increase from the roughly 399,000 registered in March.

But if you still haven't registered to vote yet there's still time and multiple ways you can do so. According to the Kern County Elections website, qualified residents can register online or at the Kern County Elections Office, which is located on Truxtun Avenue in Downtown Bakersfield. Or interested voters can call the elections office to request a registration form be sent by mail. Voters can also pick up a registration form in person at fire stations, U.S. Post Offices, DMV offices and local public libraries. However, because of the pandemic potential voters should call first to verify specific offices are currently open to the public.

23ABC spoke with Mary Bedard, the Kern County Registrar of Voters, about the registration deadline.

"The registration date to be able to vote regularly at polls, and for us to be able to mail them out a mail ballot would be October 19th. So, that's the regular registration date," said Bedard.

However, if potential voters miss the October 19th, 2020 deadline, they can still register. From October 20, 2020 through November 2, 2020 voters can conditionally register to vote at the Election Office or a satellite office. This process is called Same Day Voter Registration or Conditional Voter Registration. Bedard said the Elections Office is in the process of confirming the satellite offices and will update the elections website once the information is available. Once voters conditionally register then a provisional ballot will be submitted. This means the voters ballot will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed a verification process. This helps to ensure that ballots have not been submitted twice.

On November 3, 2020 voters can conditionally register and vote at the Elections Office or any poll site in person. To make the process easier Bedard said voters should bring in their mail in ballot to surrender. However, if you voters are unable to bring their mail in ballot then a provisional ballot will be submitted.

"... Provisional voting takes longer. So, we really do encourage people to hold on to their mail ballot, even if they're not planning to vote it. So, they can bring it to the polls with them on election day and then they'll be able to vote regularly," said Bedard.

She also highly encourages voters to vote early but and stated that voters can drop off their ballots in person at the County Administration building or in the mail - no postage is required.