168 vote centers to open across OC, including super site at Honda Center

The Orange County Registrar of Voters Office is preparing for a big day Friday when 168 vote centers open across the county, including a super site at the Honda Center. Poll workers spent Thursday transforming the parking lot into O.C.'s biggest Vote Center.

"It's 450,000 usable square feet. You compare that to about 1,800 square feet on an average vote center, it's enormous," said Neal Kelley, registrar of voters.

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At any of the five-day vote centers, people can vote in person, return their mail-in ballot, get a replacement ballot, solve voting issues or even register to vote. The one difference with the Honda Center is the option to drive thru and vote in the comfort of your car.

"When you go check in, we'll give you your ballot in your car, you'll have a place to pull over and vote and then we'll scan it on the way out," Kelley said.

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Although ballot returns have reduced dramatically since ballots were first mailed out, around 720,000 ballots have been returned. That's still tracking well ahead of the last Presidential Election at just under 20%.

"That number has really narrowed as we got closer, but it makes sense because more people now are gonna say hey I'm gonna drop it off in person, or I might vote in person as opposed to mailing it," he said.

Like Santa Ana resident Olga Pulido, who came to the registrar's office today with her daughter, who's voting for the very first time.

"This is close to home, and it was very important, so close and nearby," she said.

And Westminster resident Huyen Pham who cam to assist her older relatives who immigrated from Vietnam.
"After five years, they get citizenship, and now, they can vote," said Pham.

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Still, not everyone is on board with the new way of voting.

"We used to be able to walk to the school in our neighborhood. It was so convenient. We never had a long wait or anything. I'm really not happy with the big changes they've made," said Fountain Valley resident Dee Stephens.

And now that the wildfires are winding down, there's hope everything runs smoothly from here on out.

"Fire Department's done a fantastic job of working to contain that and so now we won't have any vote centers or ballot drop boxes closed as a result of the fires," said Kelley.

With so many options now, Neal Kelley says don't wait until Election Day. He says that will help avoid lines and will reduce possible COVID exposure. Starting Friday, they'll be open daily from 8am till 8pm opening an hour earlier on Election Day.
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