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Heading into the special election, what to know about turning in your ballot

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 20, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Heading into the 20th Congressional District Special Election, Republicans Vince Fong and Mike Boudreaux are set to face-off to find out who will replace Kevin McCarthy for the remainder of his term.

  • Assembly Bill 626, first introduced in March 2023 and passed in September, allows a voter to vote their mail-in ballot in-person at their polling location without the envelope.
  • This special election will be the first time AB 626 is in place for Kern.

Heading into the 20th Congressional District Special Election, Republicans Vince Fong and Mike Boudreaux are set to face-off to find out who will replace Kevin McCarthy for the remainder of his term.

Many people have received and filled out their mail-in ballot for this race, but for the first time ever, Kern County voters can turn in their ballot without it's envelope to their poll site and have the vote tallied on election night.

Assembly Bill 626, first introduced in March 2023 and passed in September, allows a voter to vote their mail-in ballot in-person at their polling location without the envelope as long as the site meets certain requirements.

Political professor Ian Anderson said those voters will go through the same processes as other in-person voters, including verifying their name, address, and signatures.

“Your vote is not provisional when you do a mail-in vote, and so I think that in a lot of ways will speed things up," he said.

This special election will be the first time AB 626 is in place for Kern.

Once at the polling site, election’s officials will then confirm through their system that a person has not already voted and then change the status of their vote from a vote by mail to in-person.

Proponents of this bill said not only will it speed up the voting process but help those with disabilities by allowing them to spend as much time as they need filling out their ballot at home but then turning it in to a polling place.

“Upfront there could be a lot of labor," Anderson said. "But if your turning in your ballot directly to a polling site then it goes straight to the elections office that’s shortening the number of trips your ballot is taking."

As for the county elections office, they said it’s important voters turn their ballots back into their designated polling site.

Furthermore, they said AB 626 helps accommodate voter preference as well as those with lost or damaged envelopes.

Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.


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