Nearly one-third of SLO County voters have cast absentee ballots

Close to 50,000 voters in San Luis Obispo County already have cast their absentee ballots, according to county Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald — that's nearly one-third of the county’s registered voters.

Rodewald revealed the figures as she issued final instructions and suggestions for those who will go to the polls and vote Tuesday — roughly 47 percent of the electorate, as 53 percent vote by mail.

The number of registered voters, she said, is 156,643. Of those, 83,697 vote by mail. And of those who vote by mail, 48,188 had returned their ballots as of Monday morning.

This will be the fourth election this year for Rodewald and her staff, but the frenzied activity is not unprecedented.

“Unfortunately, it is not a record,” Rodewald wrote in response to an e-mail query from The Tribune. “In 1998, we (had) a January and March special election to fill the congressional seat when Walter Capps passed away, and then our regular June primary and November general (election).”

However, she added, this year “is a record ... (in) that we have conducted four countywide elections in a space of five months — a record which I hope we will never come close to breaking.”

The busy election year was brought about when Abel Maldonado resigned his California Senate seat to become lieutenant governor. A special primary and then a special general election were held to replace him, with then-Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee prevailing.

The two special elections added to the statewide primary and general elections have kept Rodewald’s office hopping.

Rodewald had some last-minute advice for those voting at the polls today.

  • Check your polling place on the back of your sample ballot or on your yellow notification card. Many polling places have changed.
  • It is helpful if you mark your sample ballot and take it with you to the polls on Election Day, so when you enter the booth you can more easily make your choices on the official ballot.
  • If you have a choice, avoid the busiest times when voting: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., during lunch hour, and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Leave T-shirts, buttons, hats, and other electioneering materials at home. They are prohibited within 100 feet of a polling place.
  • Rodewald said vote-by-mail ballots must be returned to her office by 8 p.m.

    If you cannot find your sample ballot, Rodewald said, call her office at 781-5228 for your polling place location. “We will have additional phone lines open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Voters can also look up their polling place online at www.slocounty.ca.gov/clerk.