Polling places throughout Tuolumne and Calaveras counties opened at 7 a.m. today after months of preparation by county elections officials.
The elections offices picked up steam recently, bringing in extra help and preparing the workers for their Election Day duties.
The Tuolumne County Elections Office has about 125 additional workers for this election, including poll workers paid by stipend and unpaid volunteers working in the Elections Office, according to County Clerk and Auditor-Controller Debi Russell Bautista. Two of the volunteers have been working for the past two weeks, and about eight more will help tonight.
The Calaveras County Elections Office has 135 poll workers and two people who are hired by the county on a temporary basis around the election, according to County Clerk-Recorder Madaline Krska. County employees from other departments are also assisting the Elections Office.
Workers delivered voting machines and other supplies to polling locations throughout the counties Monday, while elections staff continued to process mail-in ballots.
As of early Monday afternoon, the Tuolumne County Elections Offices had received 12,129 mail-in ballots — more than 1,300 since Friday afternoon.
The Calaveras County Elections Office received nearly 2,000 more mail-in ballots over the weekend, bringing the total to 11,379 late Monday afternoon.
Tuolumne and Calaveras poll workers participated in classes last week and over the weekend, where they were informed of their duties and given Election Day materials.
Poll workers arrived early this morning to fire up machines, print “zero tapes” to show the machines have not counted any votes and put the finishing touches on the polling places.
Voters can visit polling places until 8 p.m., where California law allows them to spend 10 minutes in the voting booth to cast their ballots.
Voters can remain in the booth for a longer period of time if they need assistance or if no other voter is inconvenienced, according to the state elections code.
Both Tuolumne and Calaveras elections officials urged voters to make their decisions before they arrive at the polls.
“That would keep the process moving for everybody,” Krska said.
Voters who have received absentee ballots but have not yet submitted them can drop them off at polling places without waiting in line or entering a voting booth.
Tuolumne polling places can be found out www.tuolumnecounty.com or by calling the Elections Office at 533-5570. A list was also included with absentee ballots.
Calaveras polling places can be found at www.clerk.calaverasgov.us or by calling 754-6376.
Russell Bautista noted that people who are voting provisionally should visit a polling place in their precinct, or as close to it as possible, to receive a ballot with the local elections that affect them.
The elections offices will have ballots for people in all precincts.