ENCINITAS — Mail-in ballots have started trickling in as the state heads into the primary election next month.
Voters can cast ballots for candidates in the newly drawn congressional, state legislative and local districts for the first time during the primary election on June 7.
Also, effective this year for San Diego County is the permanent status of a vote-by-mail ballot for every registered voter that can be returned via mail, dropbox or in person.
“Elections are no longer a one-day event,” said Antonia Hutzell, the public relations coordinator with the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. “Voters have more days and more ways to vote. We encourage voters to act early and return their ballot to a trusted source.”
Nearly two million county voters can utilize one of the 132 ballot drop-offs throughout the area that have been open since May 9. Starting on May 28 and running through election week, 39 voting centers will open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and starting June 4, all 219 in-person vote centers will be open.
On Election Day, June 7, all 219 centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (or until the final vote is cast by those in line by that time).
Voters can register in person on Election Day or by May 23 for online or mail registration.
The vote-by-mail packet sent to voters is in a white envelope labeled with an official “Election Mail” logo. The packet includes a return envelope, the official ballot, instructions and a list of the closest vote centers and ballot drop boxes, and the “I Voted” sticker.
In June, voters will consider candidates for U.S. Congress, the California State Legislature and state (i.e. governor, attorney general) and local offices.
Due to changes following the 2020 Census, voters may reside in newly formed congressional, state and county election districts. Until the new officials are elected in November, the existing district boundaries remain in effect.
The 50th Congressional District is currently represented by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, whose territory currently spans from the eastern edge of the county to Temecula, through Fallbrook and Escondido, where it snakes below El Cajon and back east to the county line.
After redistricting, the 50th District now encompasses Escondido south along Interstate 15 to La Jolla and the western border to Imperial Beach.
California’s 49th Congressional District, held by Rep. Mike Levin (D), will maintain much of the same area, except it will lose the coastline from La Jolla to Solana Beach and pick up more eastern territory near Fallbrook. Levin is defending the 49th seat this election season.
Rep. Michelle Steel (R) represents the 48th Congressional District in Orange County. In 2022, the 48th territory switched to what is now under the 50th District.
Issa will be running in the 48th Congressional District race, and Steele will be running in the 45th District race.
California State Legislature
The 74th State Assembly District’s territory moved south from Orange County and now includes an area from Laguna Niguel to Carlsbad, and as east as De Luz Estates, stopping at Bonsall. Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris is running for re-election in the 73rd District.
The 75th District expanded exponentially in 2022. Where it previously held a smaller area marked by the San Pasqual Valley, San Marcos and Temecula, it now confines most of North and East County. The district lines are east of Bonsall to the county border (not including Escondido), then from the U.S.-Mexico border to Riverside County.
Republican incumbent Assemblywoman Marie Waldron is running for re-election in the 75th Assembly District against Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a Republican currently representing the 71st District.
Democrat Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, who currently represents the 76th District, is running for re-election in the 77th District, after her current district (76) moved away from the coast and Orange County and dropped into inland North County, including Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe and Carmel Valley.
Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, a Democrat, is seeking re-election in the 76th State Assembly District. Mainschein’s current district, the 77th, is shifting from an inland district to representing the coast from Carlsbad to the southern border.
In the 38th State Senate District, Republican State Sen. Brian Jones’ current eastern territory also shifted to the coast, starting in Irvine and going down to the San Diego harbor.
Jones will now be running for re-election in District 40 — currently represented by Democrat State Sen. Ben Hueso who is not seeking re-election — representing an area between Mount Laguna, University City to Ramona and up to Rainbow.
In 2016, the state adopted the optional Voter’s Choice Act, which expanded options for how, when and where voters could cast ballots during elections. In 2018, only five counties adopted it. In 2022, 26 counties will have transitioned to this model.
For the presidential primary election in 2020, about 1.4 million voters specifically requested to receive ballots by mail, which is about 75% of the county’s total registered voters, according to the San Diego County Registrar’s Office.
Then in 2021, the county used a temporary or a “VCA-like” model for the governor’s recall election and sent more than 1.9 million ballots. Finding success in the last two years, the county adopted the inclusive voting measure.
The county calls on poll workers each year, and this year is the same. In the previous model, between 8,000 to 10,000 volunteers were needed to work one day, Hutzell said.
But now, under the vote center model, 3,000 workers will take over election tasks over several days. Individuals interested in serving as a poll worker may visit sdvote.com for more information.