Angela Curro, assistant registrar of voters for San Benito County, spoke before the city council May 2 to update council members about the Election & Voter Information Public Forum her office would be offering on May 14.
“We have an unusual election this year,” she said. “It is very exciting because there is a lot of talk out there and what we’re trying to do is create a voter information forum on May 14, it’s a Saturday. It will be at the (supervisor) board chambers from one to two o’clock.”
Curro said it will be a question-and-answer forum for the public in order to get answers they feel they are not getting concerning their voter rights, as well as the election process for the June primary only. She said some items that will NOT be discussed include any of the candidates, the measures or propositions, or how they should vote.
“What we will be talking about is the difference between a party-nominated office and a voter-nominated office,” she said. “The difference between voting for president and voting for an office like the U.S. Senate, which is a state office.”
There has been a lot of confusion over the “no-party-preference” notice that went out to more than 5,000 voters in the county, Curro said. She said if someone is not affiliated with one of the six qualified political parties they are considered a no-party-preference voter and the office of president will not be on their ballot.
“You will have options,” she said. “You can either cross over to one of the three political parties that allow cross-over voting. That would be the Democrat party, the American Independent or the Libertarian parties. Or, you can reregister to vote by the May 23 deadline and you would receive the ballot of your choice from the other three parties, which would be the Republican, Peace and Freedom, or Green parties.”
Curro said that during the forum, there would also be a discussion about the office of U.S. Senate, for which there are 34 candidates.
“It is a vote for one only,” she emphasized. “It will appear in two columns, but you only get to vote for one. If you vote for two, your vote for that contest will not count.”
Ballots are issued to voters based on with what party they are registered, which is because the office of president being included. Curro explained that if a voter is not affiliated with a political party, their ballot will not include a choice for president and is considered a non-partisan ballot. She said that does not mean they’re not eligible to vote. They will have every office and contest on their ballots, except for president.
Ballots would begin to be mailed the following week from the San Jose Post Office.
“If you’re a vote-by-mail voter you will receive your ballot in approximately five to seven days,” Curro said. “It takes that long because we are over 50 percent vote by mail. That’s 15,000 ballots that go out during a one-day period. Additionally, your voter information guide will be mailed within the next two weeks. This is the guide that give you information about the candidates. And it will tell you what party you’re registered with. If you don’t know, when you get your sample ballot, it will say it right across the top.”
There have been a number of polling place changes due to the increased population in the county, Curro said. Voter registration has been increased in a number of neighborhoods, she said, because the county is allowed a minimum number of voters at each polling location, which caused a break-up of some of the traditional polling places.
“Rancho school, which is a very well-known polling place for the people downtown, will not be a polling place for this election,” she said. “On the back of the sample ballot will be the location of your polling place.”
Curro said her office’s website will offer information about its services and voters’ rights. Voters are encouraged to call the office about any of their questions on voting, Curro said, and the deadline to register to vote is May 23.
“You can register to vote online or with a paper application,” she said. “Our website is www.sbcvote.us. You can go there to register to vote.”