By Melissa Dowling
In accordance with state law, all active registered voters in Sonoma County have been mailed voteby- mail ballots for the Nov. 8 general election.
Beginning on Saturday, Oct. 29, voters who have not already voted by mail may vote in person at one of seven vote centers located throughout the county. The voting centers closest to Sonoma Valley and Oakmont are the Sonoma Valley Regional Library, 755 W Napa St. in Sonoma, and the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, near the county fairgrounds at 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa.
Each vote center will be open for 11 straight days, from Oct. 29 to Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 8). Hours of operation for the vote centers are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Election Day itself, when the hours will be extended to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Nov. 5, an additional 24 vote centers (for a total of 31) will be open for four straight days, through Election Day, including at the Kenwood Fire Station, 9045 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood; at the Oakmont West Recreation Center, 6470 Meadowridge Dr., Santa Rosa; and at the La Luz Center, 17560 Greger St., Sonoma.
Unlike elections in Sonoma County conducted prior to 2022, voters who want to cast their ballots in person can go to whichever voting location they choose; they are not assigned to a single place. This change has been implemented because Sonoma County began conducting elections under the California Voter’s Choice Act election model this year. Named after the state law on which it is based, the objective of this model is to give voters more flexibility regarding how, when, and where to cast their ballots.
Vote centers offer a variety of services in addition to traditional in-person voting, including serving as dropoff locations for vote-by-mail ballots; issuing replacement vote-by-mail ballots if, for example, a voter’s first ballot never arrived or was lost or spoiled; providing accessible ballot marking devices for those who need or wish to use them; and language assistance. Registered voters may also update their voter information, and citizens who are eligible to vote but missed the standard voter registration deadline may complete a same-day voter registration and vote immediately on site.
Voters preferring to return the voteby- mail ballot mailed to them may return it in one of three ways: – By mail: For the ballot to count, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the Registrar of Voters Office within seven days of the election (by Tuesday, Nov. 15).
– Drop it off at one of 21 official ballot drop boxes located throughout Sonoma County. Each is located outside and available 24/7 until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
– Bring it to any vote center during its hours of operation.
For a list and map of all vote centers and official ballot drop boxes in Sonoma County, including the dates and times they are open, visit sonomacounty. ca.gov/where-to-vote or call (707) 565-6800.