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Voting by mail in San Diego County, explained

Due to the pandemic, everyone in California is getting a mail-in ballot.

SAN DIEGO — Election day isn't for another two and a half months, yet there’s increasing concern over whether or not your vote will be counted, specifically when it comes to mail-in ballots.

Due to the pandemic, everyone in California is getting a mail-in ballot. San Diego County's Registrar of Voters, Michael Vu, is well aware of the concerns surrounding the upcoming November 3 election.

This year, a record number of people will be voting by mail due to the ongoing pandemic. However, in doing so, some fear voter fraud. Others wonder if the U.S. Postal Service can handle the influx and get their ballots in on time.

"There is no concern in our ability or the U.S. Postal Service's ability," said Vu.

Online, tweets and memes have been circulating, warning people to send in ballots two weeks in advance. While getting your ballots in early is a good idea, being that early isn't required. 

Deadlines and dates vary by state. Here in California, specifically San Diego, Vu recommends sending your ballot at least one week early. A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service echoed that advice.

"The postal service recommends that domestic, non-military voters mail their ballots at least one week prior to their state's due date to allow for timely receipt by election officials," a statement read in part.

What if you want to vote in person? For safety reasons, voting by mail is being encouraged. However, polling places will be open starting October 31, four days before the election. It's a way to spread voters out.

Another change is fewer polling places. Instead of someone's garage, they'll be at larger public facilities instead.

"As opposed to 1548 we will have 235 throughout the entire county," said Vu.

What if you're not registered? The deadline is October 19, but you can register and vote on the same day if it's in person.

Other dates to keep in mind:

-Mail-in ballots will be sent out on October 5.

-As long as your ballot is postmarked by election day and received up to 17 days after, it counts.

Finally, Vu advises voters to mark their ballots clearly, sign them and seal them. A flyer just went out to San Diegans explaining the process.

Vu is confident doing all of these things will help ensure your vote counts.

“This is not our first dance with a lot of mail voters," said Vu.

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