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Vote-by-mail ballots increase

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San Luis Obispo County hit record-breaking numbers for voters who opted to vote by mail.  

With this year’s general election, SLO County has sent out a little less than 200,000 vote-by-mail ballots; of those, 26,000 ballots have been received so far. This is a huge increase of ballots sent out to voters, and the number of received ballots is expected to increase as Election Day approaches.

The number to beat is 62,000—that’s how many mail-in ballots were received in the 2014 general election.

Tommy Gong, SLO County clerk-recorder, said voting by mail is a growing trend. The reason for the increase of vote-by-mail ballots, Gong said, is how long this year’s ballot is. 

“The ballots go out almost a month before the election; this makes it so voters can study the propositions and make their selection,” he said. 

Gong said voters might also be choosing to vote by mail for convenience, as they may not have enough time to stop at a polling location to cast their vote on Election Day. 

The ease of checking the “permanent vote-by-mail” box when registering to vote could be another reason.

As the mail-in ballots go up, foot traffic for polling locations could potentially go down, but Gong is confident there will still be a strong turnout of voters for these locations. 

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