OAKLAND, Calif. - Voters across the country and here in the Bay Area are expected to shatter previous records for early voting. Counties in the Bay Area are already seeing a significant increase in the number of mail-in ballots that have already been returned to election officials.
In Santa Clara County, election officials say 136,000 voters have returned their mail-in ballots - three times the number of ballots they'd received at this point during the last presidential election.
"I wanted to vote early to make sure it gets counted, and not get lost or caught up somewhere," said Linda Richards. The Santa Clara County voter drove to the County Registrar of Voters office to drop off her ballot at one of the official ballot boxes.
Another Santa Clara County voter, Ernest Reida, explained why he turned in his ballot early. "I'm going to be out of town on Nov. 3, so I gotta make sure my voice is heard. I can't complain if I don't come out and vote," Reida said.
Other Bay Area counties report similar, record-breaking mail-in ballot turn-out.
It is a trend, state-wide. California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla said that so far, 1.5 million Californians have returned their mail in ballots. That's ten times the number of mail-in ballots received during this period four years ago.
One factor impacting the high turn-out by mail: every registered voter in California received a mail-in ballot automatically this year. In previous years, a mail-in ballot had to be requested.
Election officials say high interest in the presidential election this year is also driving higher early vote and mail-in ballot turn-out.
Here is a list of mail-in ballot returns for Bay Area counties that got back to us with that information:
- OCT. 16, 2020: 150,000 Mail-in ballots returned so far
- OCT. 17, 2016: 7,847
- OCT. 16, 2020: 34,895
- OCT. 16, 2016: 16,130
- OCT. 17, 2020: 17,651
- OCT. 22, 2016: 6,642
SANTA CLARA COUNTY:
- OCT. 16, 2020: 136,000
- OCT. 16, 2016: 45,300
SAN MATEO COUNTY:
- OCT. 16, 2020: 98,067
- OCT. 16, 2016: 29,022
- OCT. 16, 2020: 37,000
- OCT. 16, 2016: 13,500
- OCT 16, 2020: 40,484
- OCT 16, 2016: 16,905
We are still waiting for exact information from San Francisco, Alameda and Napa county election officials.