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Early returns signal Sonoma County on track for strong turnout in Sept. 14 election

Sonoma County election officials are projecting a strong local turnout of about 70% in the Sept. 14 statewide election centered on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall.

As of Monday, the county had processed a little over 68,000 ballots out of 304,000 registered voters in Sonoma County, meaning there’s been about a 22.4% turnout so far, said Deva Proto, the registrar of voters.

“Seventy percent would be good for a special election, low for a regular general election,” Proto said. There’s only one modern statewide recall to compare it to, the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis, which saw a turnout of 75% in Sonoma County, Proto said.

Historically, special elections in the state have much lower turnout with a range of 30 to 50% compared to 60 to 90% turnout for general elections, Proto said.

But, “there’s usually a good turnout in Sonoma County,” Proto said, referring to the 2003 recall election.

The recall targeting Newsom is at the top of the ballot, Sonoma County voters will also be able to vote on a recall of District Attorney Jill Ravitch and Rohnert Park residents will decide whether or not to uphold a ban on the sale and use of fireworks within the city.

Residents who missed the deadline to register on Monday still have the option to conditionally register and vote in-person, Proto said.

They can conditionally register and cast a provisional ballot at an in-person voting location. This can be done before or on Election Day at the Registrar of Voters located at 435 Fiscal Drive in Santa Rosa or a polling place on Election Day.

Those casting provisional ballots must vote in-person and won’t have their votes processed until after the registrar has verified their information, Proto said.

Registered voters can submit their vote by either mailing in their ballot before or on Election Day, dropping their ballot in a secure ballot drop box, or submitting it at an in-person polling location on Election Day, Proto said.

Voters can find out where their assigned polling place is at Sonoma County’s online Voter Information Lookup, locate polling places and nearby drop boxes on Sonoma County’s online Polling Place and Drop Box Locator or find their assigned polling place on their voter information guide found inside their vote-by-mail ballot envelope.

Those wishing to vote at a polling place must bring their vote-by-mail ballot. If they don’t, they’ll be offered a provisional ballot, which will be reviewed by the Registrar of Voters Office to ensure that the voter has not already returned their ballot, according to a news release.

Proto said those eligible to vote can check their voter status at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov. Those eligible to vote include U.S. citizens at least 18 years-old before or on Election Day, and those not in prison for the conviction of a felony.

If a registered voter has not received their vote-by-mail ballot, they can call the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office at 707-565-6800 for more information, or, if need be, void their old ballot so they can be sent a new one.

They can also check the status of their ballot at california.ballottrax.net/voter to see when their ballot has been processed or if there are any issues.

Online resources for those wishing to vote in September recall election

The Registrar of Voters recommended these resources for Sonoma County residents looking for voter information:

The County of Sonoma Voter Information Lookup at sites.omniballot.us/06097/app/home shows voters their polling place an accessible voter information guide and a sample ballot.

For an interactive map of polling locations and ballot boxes, go to Sonoma County’s online Polling Place and Drop Box Locator at sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=b455606cd264489fa6c82e7311b60bae.

To check your voter status including where you’re registered to vote, your language preference, part preference and your polling location, visit the Secretary of State’s voterstatus.sos.ca.gov.

Those wanting to check the status of their ballot can go to california.ballottrax.net/voter to see where their ballot is in the mail, when it was processed and if there were any issues.

You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-521-5224 or alana.minkler@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @alana_minkler.

Alana Minkler

Breaking news & general assignment reporter, The Press Democrat

The world is filled with stories that inspire compassion, wonder, laughs and even tears. As a Press Democrat reporter covering breaking news, tribes and youth, it’s my goal to give others a voice to share these stories.

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