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San Luis Obispo County voters who shun the mail go to the polls today

Nearly one-third of San Luis Obispo County’s registered voters — close to 50,000 — had already cast their absentee ballots as of Monday, according to county Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald.Rodewald revealed the figures as she issued final instructions and suggestions for those who will go to the polls to vote today.

Local residents who vote by mail now make up 53 percent of all voters. As of Monday morning, 48,188 had returned their ballots.

This will be the fourth election this year for Rodewald and her staff, but it’s 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.”

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 occurred when Abel Maldonado resigned his state 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, 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. to be counted.

A closer look

Total number of SLO County registered voters: 156,643

Number who vote by mail: 83,697, or 53 percent

Number who vote in person: 72,946, or 47 percent

VOTING INFORMATION

Polls open at 7 a.m. today and close at 8 p.m. To find polling place locations, call the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office at 781-5228. Polling place information can also be reviewed at www.slocounty.ca.gov/clerk.

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