MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Elections Program Manager Greta Arevalo visited Soledad City Council on May 2 to speak about changes that are coming to election ballots in Monterey County, ahead of the June 5 Primary Election.
The changes start with the ballot design and the envelope that voters are going to receive in the next few weeks and moving closer to the November election.
"Before, voters would have to connect an arrow in order to select a choice," Arevalo said. "Now it's changing to bubbles."
Voters will fill in ovals to choose their candidates and whether they support propositions, measures and bonds or not. Voters must use blue or black ink on the ballots in order for the ballot to be read. There will also be a blue section indicating how many candidates they can vote for in a specific category.
"That information has always been on the ballot, but we are just trying to make it easier on the voters," Arevalo said. "Our ballots are still going to be in English and Spanish."
On May 7, ballots started to show up in mailboxes. That voting envelope has also changed to have a blue strip on the left side with the Monterey County logo in the top left-hand corner. The back portion of the envelope shows three different ways voters can return their ballots to the Elections Office.
If the return envelope caused confusion in the past, the Elections Office has made a change to that as well. The return envelope will have a single fold. Voters will continue to include their signature in the square and date it. The June ballot will require two stamps.
Elections for schools and special districts will also be updated. These elections previously took place on odd years, however, last year they changed to even-year elections.
"Now we have a total of 33 schools and 25 special districts that have moved to even years," Arevalo said. "This will effect voters by the possibility of having multiple ballot cards with more contests."
Arevalo said anyone who visits poll places should expect voting to take longer to fill out their ballots.
If this is a first-year voting or a person is getting ready to register to vote in the upcoming elections, June or November, a new law will be in effect. Registration deadlines are normally 15 days before the election. In the case of June 5, the registration deadline is May 21.
"If a voter for any reason misses the registration deadline or updating their registration form, they are still eligible to register and vote in our office," Arevalo said. "They would have to do it through conditional voter registration and vote on a provisional ballot."
The conditional voter registration can occur 14 days before the election but has to be done in the Elections Office, which has moved to 1441 Schilling Place-North in Salinas.
In addition, Monterey County Elections is currently searching for poll workers for the upcoming June and November elections.