Solano County

Registrar of Voters prepares for Solano election

By From page A1 | October 03, 2012

FAIRFIELD — More than 202,000 Solano County residents are registered to vote — the county’s population is 413,000 — and the Registrar of Voters expects turnout for the upcoming presidential election to top 70 percent.

That’s more than double the 35 percent that turned out for the June primaries. On the ballot is the contest between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, such state issues as a proposed tax increase and such local issues as proposed sales tax increases in Fairfield and Vacaville and a Solano Community College bond measure.

“We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for a well-run and problem-free Nov. 6,” county Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Linda Seifert said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Actually, the county will do more than that. Officials of the Registrar of Voters office told supervisors how they are preparing for the election.

The county will have 144 precincts, up from 127 in the primary. It will have 107 polling locations, up from 86 in the primary. It has 720 poll workers.

More than half of the registered voters are signed up to vote by mail.

Change has come this year because of redistricting. That has led to some voters finding themselves in new precincts. Deputy Registrar of Voters John Gardner described steps being taken to communicate with voters, including listing their polling place on the front of the sample ballots and including a map of the location inside.

The county has tried to increase the number of polling places so people can vote in their neighborhoods, Gardner said.

Finding locations for polling places continues to pose challenges. Gardner said space can be an issue at schools, with the polling places in some cases ending up in a hallway. In Vallejo, the closure of a fire station cost the county a polling location.

Parking at polling places is another issue.

“A lot of the schools don’t have street-side parking,” Gardner said. “They have a very small parking lot.”

Redistricting has caused some difficulties. Gardner said that Solano Community College redistricting splits two sides of a Fairfield cul-de-sac. In fact, it even divided a property, an issue that had to be resolved to place the house in a single district.

The Registrar of Voters has a new online service that allows military and citizens overseas to download ballots. Gardner said 28 people had downloaded ballots as of Tuesday morning.

Residents can also register to vote online using their California driver’s license or identification card number, the last four digits of their Social Security number and their date of birth. Gardner said the needed signature comes from their Department of Motor Vehicles file. The deadline to register is midnight Oct. 22.

The Registrar of Voters has altered its website so voters can find information more easily, Gardner said. Please go to http:/www.solanocounty.com/elections to see the website.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

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