Early Voting Catching On in California

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Under state law, county officials can set up booths as early as 29 days before an election to give people the opportunity to vote at a polling site. Merced County Registrar, Stephen Jones says enclosed early voting booths were set up at shopping malls in the city of Merced and in Los Banos during two weekends in October.  JONES :12—It looks just like a polling place. They step up to the registration desk. We call up their availability to vote. We have them sign in and give them the proper ballot depending on where they’re located within our county.  Jones says 291 people voted at the booths. The early voting option was designed for those people who don’t want to file an absentee ballot, don’t like long lines or will be traveling and won’t be able to get to their assigned precinct on Election Day. About half of the 58 counties in the state set up booths for early voting for the upcoming election. This was the first election in which Merced County adopted the plan. Jones says the county expects to do it again next election. Bob Hensley KXJZ News.