Strong coffee — and lots of it —might be the only way to stay up late enough to see who ends up a winner in some races in November’s general election. Ballots in San Diego County will likely be an unprecedented two cards rather than one, and it will consequently take extra time to count votes. The change is driven by an unusually high number of state and local ballot measures atop the regular federal, state and local races. The implications of the seemingly simple change in ballot layout and design could have implications locally as well across the country. The outcome of races and ballot measures of national interest will be delayed by the extra time it takes to count votes from San Diego and other large California counties. Among the high-profile state measures that have captured national attention are those involving recreational marijuana, the death penalty (two separate initiatives), gun control, single-use plastic grocery bags and whether porn actors should use condoms.
The election is a major undertaking in planning and logistics for county Registrar of Voters Michael Vu. “What is the impact of a two-card ballot?” he said. “Well, that one additional card has impacts across the entire operation and at the polls.”
In the weeks leading up to voting, the registrar’s office will have to mail larger sample ballots and informational pamphlets that could top 200 pages.
After precincts close, registrar staff will begin tallying returns, but having a second sheet to count means it will take more time. The exact number of ballot measures has not been finalized and will vary between cities and school districts. Voters will weigh in on 17 state measures, the most since 2000.