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The 2020 Census brings changes to the 2022 election

Voting (FILE)
Posted at 4:02 PM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 21:11:04-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — With the November elections right around the corner, recent redistricting has changed who is representing some areas of Kern County and the cities in it. The redistricting follows the 2020 Census that showed demographic changes taking place in the area.

Kern County Auditor-Controller-Clerk Mary Bedard says the redistricting will affect the races some Kern County voters will be able to vote in and where their polling location for in-person voting will be.

“A voter’s precinct may have been consolidated with a precinct from a different poll site, so while a voter’s poll site may still be a poll site, it may not be the poll site for the precinct they are now in,” said Bedard.

Not all parts of the districts will receive the same resources for voters. Depending on how many people are in your area, you may now be in what is called a “mail ballot precinct,” meaning there are no in-person ballot boxes and all ballots will be returned by mail.

“This happens when there are too few voters with the same combination of races they are voting in, and in some cases that is just five or ten voters to enable us to set up a precinct at a poll site,” explained Bedard.

If you find yourself in a mail ballot precinct, you can still vote in person if you would like, but with some stipulations.

“They can go to a poll site, but they would have to vote provisionally, and would receive a ballot that wouldn’t contain all the races they are eligible to vote in,” said Bedard.

Another change coming to some polling places in Kern County will be the use of new equipment and software.

“Because we are using some additional equipment at the poll sites, some of the smaller poll sites we have used in the past may no longer be suitable for use as a poll site,” said Bedard. “So it is extremely important for voters who are planning to vote in person at the polls to check the back of their County Voter Information Guide, that’s the one with the sample ballot in it, that shows the poll place for their precinct.”

One of the new equipment upgrades is signature-checking software for vote-by-mail ballots, but the software is still in the testing phase, so officials aren’t leaving it all up to automation.

“While the software will be identifying probably matches for the November election, we will continue to have election workers review the signatures that the software identifies as matches,” said Bedard.

For more information about voting in Kern County, visit the Kern County Elections Division website. If you would like to register to vote online in California, you can use the online voter registration form at the California Secretary of State's website. The deadline to register to vote online is October 24th. After that, you will need to visit an in-person polling place to register and vote in the election.

Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. 23ABC will continue to keep you informed about the election process, as well as provide information about the various ballot measures voters will be deciding this year.