A contentious general election in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought rise to another issue: casting a ballot. Here's what you need to know about voting by mail this fall.
Under Santa Clara County's Voter's Choice Act, all registered voters will be sent mail-in ballots for this election starting Monday, Oct. 5.
The ballot will come with a pre-paid envelope so the voter can send it back. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.
For people who prefer not to send their ballot through the U.S. Postal Service, the Registrar of Voters has about 90 drop boxes throughout the county. County staff will collect those ballots and bring them back to be counted.
There are four locations in Mountain View: Civic Center Plaza in front of the Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.; Mountain View Library, 585 Franklin St.; Computer History Museum, 1401 North Shoreline Blvd.; and Mountain View Fire Station 4, 229 North Whisman Road.
The ballots will be picked up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until Oct. 16 and then daily starting on Oct. 19.
Voters can also drop off their ballots in person at one of about 100 vote centers, which will open on Oct. 31 for four days, up to and including Nov. 3, Election Day. People also can come to vote in person at a vote center if they've misplaced their mailed ballots, need language assistance or require accessibility accommodations.
If you have any questions about voting, go to the Registrar of Voters' site at sccgov.org/sites/rov.
Whether amid a deadly pandemic or catastrophic wildfires, the November general election must go on, and this year, more and more younger citizens are expected to help registered voters participate in their democracy by working at in-person voting centers.
Mail-in and absentee ballots improve voter turnout and make elections more democratic, but the argument that one political party would have an advantage over another in a mail-in ballot election doesn't appear credible, studies by multiple Stanford University researchers have found.
With the general election less than three months away, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, said that it was critical to support the U.S. Postal Service, which is expected to receive an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"This fall, the Postal Service will have another task that is vital to our democracy: ensuring the timely delivery of millions of absentee ballots for the general election," she said.
This page will be updated.