By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
County elections officials are urging absentee voters to drop off their ballots this weekend at one of the nine sites established to ease the anticipated crunch on Monday and on election day.
Nearly 185,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been issued for Tuesday’s election, a number that beats the previous record by about 15,600 ballots, officials said.
The drop-off points, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, are the Veterans Buildings in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Cloverdale, Cotati and Guerneville, as well as Healdsburg City Hall, Windsor Town Hall and the Sonoma Community Meeting Room.
For addresses and other details, go to the Registrar of Voters website at http://vote.sonoma-county.org. The sites will not be accepting ballots on any other days or times, officials said.
Voters also may use the website to look up their polling place location.
Mail-in ballots may also be dropped off at the Registrar of Voters drive-up window, 435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Vote-by-mail ballots received by 5 p.m. Monday will be counted and included in the election results released Tuesday night.
Officials expected about 35,000 mail-in ballots will arrive in Tuesday’s mail or be turned in at polling places from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, meeting the legal deadline but delaying the county’s final voting tally.
The election-day ballot flood is expected to delay the tally for the full 28 days allowed by law, county elections chief Janice Atkinson said.
“We are a society of procrastinators,” she said, referring to voters who sign up for mail-in ballots but turn them in on election day.
The popularity of mail-in votes will minimize the lines at polling places, where about 64,400 voters — just 25 percent of registered voters — are expected to mark their ballots on Tuesday.
Atkinson predicted an 85 percent turnout by county voters, including those voting by mail and at the polls.
(You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)