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Commentary: Mail your ballot NOW

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 29, 2010

If you want to know the outcome of any contest on the November ballot by election night, fill out your vote-by-mail ballot today, right now in fact. Either mail it or drop it by the registrar's office in person. Only with a Friday mailing before next Tuesday's election can vote by mail voters be sure their ballot will be counted at all, and that it will be included in the election night tally.

Unfortunately, about 25% of mail in voters will drop their ballots off at polling places on election day. Those late mail in voters are largely responsible for delays in the vote count, the reason why in close elections, it can take days or weeks to declare a winner.

That's because mail ballots require special handling. Each signature on the ballot envelope has to be matched individually with the voter's signature on file at the registrar's office.

That's time consuming. When millions of ballots are turned in on election day, the counting slows to a crawl. Worse, counties are broke and have been forced to cut back on the number of election workers they hire.

So help them out; mail in your ballot today. And remember, because of the length of the ballot, Sacramento County voters need two stamps this year. Don't forget to sign the ballot envelope.  Without a signature, your vote won't count.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.

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