More than 1 in 6 SLO County voters have already returned their ballots

As the 2010 state election cycle enters its final week, the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office revealed Monday that more than one in six registered county voters have already filled out ballots and turned them in.

According to Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald, 27,979 vote-by-mail ballots have been submitted to her office. There are 156,643 registered voters. An additional 55,718 vote-by-mail ballots remain in voters’ hands.

Assuming a turnout of 100 percent, the numbers mean that a sizeable portion of the electorate has already voted well before Election Day on Nov. 2.

Rodewald added that today is the last day an application can be received by her office for it to mail a vote-by-mail ballot for the general election.

The cut-off date allows sufficient time for vote-by-mail ballots to be mailed to the voter and returned by Election Day, she said.

Applications can be faxed to 781-1111.

Vote-by-mail ballots will still be available after today but only by visiting the Clerk-Recorder’s Office. Rodewald said the office will be open in San Luis Obispo on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If voters have requested vote-by-mail ballots and have not yet received them, they should contact the Clerk-Recorder’s Office immediately so their ballots can be replaced.

Rodewald said all ballots must be received at the Clerk-Recorder’s Office or at a polling place by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. Voters must sign the identification envelope containing the ballot, she added.