The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the County's participation in the Voter's Choice Act, Senate Bill No. 450 and to replace the current voting system. Implementing the Vote Center model in 2018 and acquiring a new voting system will provide Sacramento County voters increased options for casting their vote, beginning with the June 2018 Primary Election.
In 2016, the State of California passed SB450, allowing select counties to conduct elections by vote-by-mail (VBM) ballot while also providing regional Vote Centers to be open 10 days prior to Election Day through close of voting on Election Day.
SB450 also contains specific outreach requirements for extensive community involvement to ensure voters are well informed on the new voting model.
Regional Vote Centers are to be located based on specified demographics and public input to ensure the greatest access for all voters. Consideration must be given to population centers, access to public transportation, low rate of VBM usage, minority language communities, access to accessible voting equipment, and proximity to low-income or geographically isolated communities.
Sacramento will have a total of 77 Vote Centers that will replace polling places. Sixteen sites will be open 10 days before Election Day, beginning with the June 2018 election. An additional 61 Vote Centers will open three days prior to Election Day, making 77 locations open on Election Day. This would expand access for voters to voting sites for 11 days, rather than just one day (Election Day) with the current Polling Place model.
The County will have 54 ballot drop-off sites (three times the number available in the November 2016 election) beginning 29 days before the election, in addition to any of the County's 77 Vote Centers.
All voters will automatically be mailed a VBM ballot beginning 29 days before each election. Once the voter receives their VBM ballot, all they need to do is make their selections and return the ballot in the envelope provided, either by mail or by dropping it off at any of the County's drop-boxes or Vote Centers. A list of all drop boxes and Vote Center locations will be provided with the voter's VM ballot as well as in the official voter information pamphlet.
- Vote centers will offer more services for all voters including accessible voting equipment.
- Voters will no longer be assigned to vote at a specific polling place. Instead, voters can go to any Vote Center, giving the voter options for where and when to vote.
- Voters can vote in person on Election Day or any time in the 10 days leading up to Election Day.
- An interactive electronic list of voters at each Vote Center will enable officials to quickly update a voter's registration, and allow eligible citizens to register to vote and get a VBM ballot.
- Voters will have expanded access to replacement ballots, eliminating the need for provisional ballots, a time-consuming and costly process under the current Polling Place model.
Implementation of the Vote Center model as compared to the Polling Place model will save the County about $4 million.