More in City Hall:
- Concern raised over city’s plan for new median islands on Auburn Blvd. October 21, 2021
- Public hearing to be held for Sunrise Mall redevelopment plan October 17, 2021
- Survey finds overwhelming support for steel arch option on Auburn Blvd October 17, 2021
Sentinel staff report–
Reports of voters waiting more than an hour in line at Citrus Heights City Hall on Tuesday led many to conclude that a higher-than-usual voter turnout was underway, but data from the Elections Department indicates otherwise.
A key difference in this year’s election was less locations for in-person voting. In Citrus Heights, there was only one location where voters could cast their ballots in person, while last year there were three locations within the city limits. In both the November 2020 General Election and the March 2020 Primary Election, voters in Citrus Heights could vote at City Hall as well as at a church on Mariposa Avenue and at Sylvan Oaks Library.
Janna Haynes, public information manager for Sacramento County’s Elections Department, told The Sentinel Tuesday evening that the number of vote centers is based on how many voters are in a given area. During the 2020 General Election, she said there were 84 vote centers in Sacramento County, but “with the recall it was a little bit different, so we only had to do 30 (vote centers), with 72 drop boxes.”
Noting the shorter timeline to prepare for a special election, Haynes said “it was just harder to find vote centers that would allow us to be in their space for 11 days.” She also said it was also more difficult to find staffing.
So how many people ended up voting in person?
As of about 10 p.m. on election night, Haynes said elections staff estimated only about 16,000 voters opted to cast their ballots in person on Election Day in Sacramento County. Compared with the more than 300,000 ballots that have been counted, and the nearly 200,000 still to be processed, Haynes said it “speaks volumes” about voters preferring the convenience of voting by mail.
While the vast majority of voters cast their ballots by mail, or voted in person prior to Election Day, Haynes said Citrus Heights always sees a higher in-person turnout compared to other parts of the county.
“Citrus Heights is consistently not only one of our busiest vote centers, but always on Election Day it is one of our busiest vote centers. There’s just a behavior there for the voters that like Election Day, they like voting in person.”
She also said the vote center at City Hall is well-run and “by far, the most patriotic.”
“The election inspector couple that runs that location has been doing it for years. They are crazy dedicated,” said Haynes. “They know everything and they take a personal interest in decorating, greeting voters, making their voter experience as seamless as possible, getting people in-and-out, providing as much help as possible — they’re phenomenal.”
Voters on social media also posted positively their experiences with voting at City Hall, despite long lines.
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