Increasing Flexibility and Efficiency
Auburn, Calif. – The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to authorize the Placer County Elections Office to implement the requirements of Senate Bill 450, also known as the California Voter’s Choice Act.
These requirements include the submission of an Election Administration Plan to the Secretary of State which, if approved, will allow the county to transition to a vote center model beginning with the March 2024 Presidential Primary Election.
Signed into law in 2016, the bill’s passage allowed participating counties to transition to regional vote centers, which are open for multiple days prior to Election Day and available to any eligible voter wanting to cast their ballots in person. Of the state’s 58 counties, 27 (representing more than half of the voting population) already participate in VCA, including nearby Sacramento, Nevada and El Dorado counties.
“Given the challenges we’ve faced over the last few election cycles, I believe this to be the right decision for Placer County,” said Placer County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters, Ryan Ronco. “The difficulty of locating and securing 150-250 polling place locations, not to mention the more than 1,000 volunteers needed to staff those polling places, continues to increase with each election. With a transition to VCA, all eligible voters will be able cast their ballots at any one of 30 regional vote centers up to 10 days before Election Day. We believe this will make conducting elections more cost-effective and significantly reduce the time it takes to finalize election results.”
Most voters prefer vote by mail
Changes in voting behavior amongst Placer County voters is another reason Ronco requested the board authorize the move to VCA, he said. Even before universal vote by mail was enacted through Assembly Bill 37, 82% of eligible voters in Placer County were already designated “permanent vote by mail” voters, and less than 9% of ballots cast in the November 2022 General Election were cast in person on Election Day, resulting in a substantial increase in the length of time needed to certify election results.
“We have to listen to the wants and needs of our voters, and it is clear they appreciate the flexibility and accessibility of voting by mail. A move to VCA will retain this flexibility and increase the overall efficiency of Placer County elections.”Ryan Ronco
Before the Board of Supervisors voted on the motion, District 2 Supervisor Shanti Landon commented, “We are Placer County, we run our elections office with integrity, and I think you’ve [Ronco] made that clear with the amount of transparency you’ve shown to the public.”
For more information about the California Voter’s Choice Act, visit the Secretary of State’s Office.