The San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters will hold a town hall in Lodi on Thursday to solicit public input regarding possible changes to the county’s voting model.
“This town hall ... will be an opportunity for the public to speak directly to the county about how they want voting to look in the future,” Registrar Melinda Dubroff said.
The county’s current voting model requires voters to either cast their ballots in person at a designated polling place, Dubroff said, or request a special vote-by-mail ballot.
“Voters can also come into our office for a conditional voter registration for those who missed the deadline to register, and they can cast their votes here,” Dubroff said.
The registrar’s office is currently considering switching to the Voter’s Choice Act of 2016 model, Dubroff said, under which all voters would receive their ballots in the mail 28 days before Election Day regardless of whether or not they requested one.
Instead of designated polling places, the VCA — which has already been adopted by counties such as Sacramento, San Mateo and more — requires counties to provide voting centers where voters from anywhere in the county can drop off their ballots, according to the California Secretary of State’s website. Voters can also drop their ballots in a secure county ballot drop box under the VCA.
“Voting centers would have the same services that we currently have in our registrar of voters office,” Dubroff said. “In fact, we can provide satellite registrar of voters offices without adopting the Voter’s Choice Act.”
Should the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors vote to adopt the VCA in the future, Dubroff said the county would be subject to additional requirements such as opening 35 voting centers on Election Day as well as three days prior.
After her office compiles a summary of public feedback from the town halls and online survey — as well as the estimated financial cost of adopting the VCA — Dubroff said she will brief the supervisors and make a staff recommendation in the coming months.
“We want to find out how we can make voting in San Joaquin County easier, more convenient and more accessible,” Dubroff said. “We want to find out what the residents of San Joaquin County see as the most advantageous way to receive a ballot and cast a ballot.”
In addition to the scheduled town halls, Dubroff said she is happy to visit any existing organization in the county to share information with them and listen to their feedback. Those interested should call her office at 209-468-8683.
An online survey is also available on the registrar’s website, www.sjgov.org/ department/rov/.
“We’ve already received some great responses that are helping us put together a summary of the benefits and concerns that come along with adopting the Voter’s Choice Act,” Dubroff said.