With a long ballot to navigate and turnout expected to be high, Merced County voters might want to plan their trips to the polls during midmorning or midafternoon to avoid large crowds.
Barbara Levey, Merced County’s registrar of voters, encouraged voters to fill out their sample ballot before heading to the polls and make sure it’s handy once they arrive in order to prevent congestion at local precincts. If you misplaced your sample ballot, you can reprint it on the county’s election website.
“I do think we will have a large turnout, and our voters aren’t used it,” Levey said. “We just need to remind people to be patient.”
Typically, polling places see rushes in the early morning before voters go to work, during lunch and in the evenings, Levey said. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at 56 places around the county.
By Friday, the registrar of voters office already had received 33 percent of the 66,890 mail ballots issued.
It’s likely more people in Merced County are registered to vote than ever before, Levey said, with registration numbers topping 99,220. That number tops the 2012 presidential election registration by 330.
Voter turnout in 2012, the last presidential election, was about 64 percent for Merced County, records show.
Most of those – 44,662, to be exact – are registered Democrat. Nearly 29,400 are registered Republican, and more than 20,700 are registered no party preference.
Republican registration has fallen since 2012, when 33,068 people were registered to the party, California secretary of state numbers show. Democrat and no party preference numbers increased by about 2,000 each.
Voters who received a mail-in ballot can drop it off in the signed envelope Tuesday. Those wanting to vote at the polls must surrender both pages of their mail-in ballot and the envelope, Levey said. Voters who don’t have them but would like to vote can fill out a provisional ballot.
There will be three central satellite voting stations that will accept ballots from voters countywide. They will be at UC Merced, the County Administration Building on M Street in Merced and the Los Banos Community Center on Seventh Street.
The first unofficial election results are scheduled to be released at 8 p.m. at the Merced election website.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477