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Voting in Siskiyou County? Here's what you need to know

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald
Siskiyou County election 2020

Siskiyou County Clerk Laura Bynum and her staff have already been busy counting ballots.

“It’s like Election Day, every day,” Bynum said: About 29% of Siskiyou’s 29,000 voters have already cast their votes by mail. Interest in voting is up since the last presidential election in 2016, when 27,622 were registered.

“Last Thursday we received 288 ballots; on Friday, 1,953,” Bynum said at the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors' Oct. 20 meeting. “Yesterday, 2,781 ballots.”

Bynum encouraged voters to use the ballot they're sent to make the process as safe as possible during the pandemic. Siskiyou voters are already accustomed to voting by mail, as 75% of them already request absentee ballots.

Here are answers to voters’ questions, a list of races and the candidates running in them.

How do I fill out my ballot?

Voters should fill in ballot bubbles completely with black or blue ink only. Other colors, such as red or green will not scan properly, Bynum said.

“If you vote by mail, sign the back of the envelope before putting your ballot in the drop box system,” said Bynum. Those who have registered online will use their driver’s license number, unless they have already established a physical signature.

What do I do if there's been an accident with my ballot?

“People who have made mistakes (should) call our office on how to correct them,” said Bynum. If a ballot is physically damaged in any way, contact the clerk’s office for options regarding how to receive a new ballot.

Bynum said that if a mistake is made, or a voter feels they made an error, they can mark the back of their mail-in ballot. “There’s an option to mark your ballot as ‘spoiled,’ and once it’s sent back to us, we can send you another one.”

Vote 2020

How can I track my ballot?

Bynum urges voters to visit wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov to ensure their ballot reaches its destination and is counted. “It will send text or email notifications as their ballot is mailed, received by the clerk’s office and verified,” Bynum said.

People can also request information from the elections office at 510 N. Main Street in Yreka, or by calling (530) 842-8084.

How do you cast your ballot?

Bynum encourages voters to vote the ballot that is mailed to them. It can be returned in the following ways:

• Via the U.S. Post Office (no stamp required)

• The 24-hour drop box at the County Clerk’s Office at 510 N. Main Street in Yreka

• The ballot box at Weed City Hall (available during business hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

• To any polling place on election day.

Is voting by mail safe?

Voting by mail has been deemed safe, secure and runs little risk for fraud, Bynum said. Those who are registered to vote should have received their mail-in ballot before last week. Sample ballots were sent out in September. If this is not the case, contact Bynum at the County Clerk’s office.

Although Bynum encourages people to vote by mail, she has received calls from those who have never voted anywhere but at the polls. They’ve expressed concerns about whether voting by mail is safe.

“Contrary to rumors and misleading statements in the news lately, voting by mail is safe, secure and does not create voter fraud,” Bynum said. “There is no evidence to suggest a systemic bias toward one party or another from mail-in ballots, nor is there any evidence that there is widespread fraud in the use of mail-in ballots.”

What's my deadline for sending my ballot in?

Ballots that are mailed in must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3. These must be received by the elections office no later than Nov. 20.

You can also cast your mail-in ballot at any polling place on Election Day, Bynum said, or in advance at the county's two drop-box locations.

Where can I vote in person?

Those in Siskiyou County who wish to cast their vote in person on Nov. 3 will have until 8 p.m. to do so, and should expect a wait.

In keeping with CDC guidelines, Bynum said volunteers will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment, and will be sanitizing and cleaning each voter booth after use. Voters should wear a mask.

If voting in person, bring your official ballot to surrender at the polls to ensure a quick process. 

Those who are not registered and wish to vote on Election Day can do so, but they will fill out a 'conditional ballot,' said Bynum. A conditional ballot is processed after the canvas for election is finished and voter registration is verified. These ballots are kept separate from others cast by voters on election day.

When are polling places open?

Polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.

What should I bring to my polling site?

Voters are asked to wear masks when they come to vote, but no voter will be turned away.

Bynum, the clerk and registrar of voters, recommends voters bring their completed ballot to the polling place to save time in the voting booth.

If you need a wheelchair-accessible voting booth or need other accommodations, ask the person with whom you check in for help.

You don’t need to show identification to vote, Bynum said.

I have other questions you don't answer here!

Contact The Office of the County Clerk during business hours. It's located at 510 N. Main Street, Yreka. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and they're closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.

Bynum can also be reached by email at clerk.registrar@sisqvotes.org.

2020 election candidates list

U.S. President and Vice President

  • Donald Trump, Republican
  • Joe Biden, Democrat
  • Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, American Independent Party of California
  • Howie Hawkins Green Party
  • Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian Party
  • Gloria La Riva, Peace and Freedom Party

U.S. Representative in Congress, 1st District

  1. Doug LaMalfa, Republican, incumbent
  2. Audrey Denney, Democrat

State Senator, District 1

  • Brian Dahle, Republican, incumbent
  • Pamela Swartz, Democrat

State Assembly, District 1

  • Megan Dahle, Republican, incumbent
  • Elizabeth Betancourt, Democrat

City of Dunsmuir council member (vote for 2)

  • Sandra Vaughan
  • Ahmet Tasci
  • Dave "Big Dave" Keisler
  • Bruce Deutsch

City of Dunsmuir treasurer

  • Mario Rubino
  • Dena Marlatt

City of Montague council member (vote for 3)

  • Ray Fahey
  • Thomas Hart
  • Takeshi Murakami
  • Shelley Solis
  • Crystal Rivera

City of Mt. Shasta council member (vote for 3)

  • Barbara Wagner
  • Tessa Montgomery
  • John Stackfleth
  • Timothy Stearns
  • Betty Kreeger

City of Tulelake council member, short term (vote for 1)

  • Bryan Hendricks
  • Teresa Williams

Weed Elementary School District (vote for 3)

  • Deborah Goltz
  • Garrett Greene
  • Caleb Cordes
  • Derek Dewhurst
  • Ashley Cavalli

Butte Valley Unified Area 1 (vote for 2)

  • Mark Baldwin
  • Heather Criss
  • Carolyn Field

Yreka Union High School District Area 4 (vote for 2)

  • Cheryl Horvalth
  • Jamie Kimball
  • Mark Zeigler