Averee Archer moved back to the area after last voting in Hawaii for the general election in November and previously living in the state of Washington for school. Tuesday’s election was the first she’s participated in-person.
She said after moving back to California, she first figured out her drivers license and then how to register to vote. Archer voted at Sutter County Veterans Hall on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s actually kind of cool to be here,” Archer said. “It may not look like much but it feels patriotic.”
At Sutter County Veterans Hall voters had the option of dropping off their ballot, voting in person or voting on electronic voting machines. Residents also had the ability to register and then fill out a ballot. Poll worker Mimi Robarge was stationed at the electronic voting machines and helped point people in the right direction.
“I enjoy this,” said George Magann, who’s been a poll worker for about 15 years. “... I just like people and it’s something to do.”
Sutter County Registrar of Voters Donna Johnston said as of Tuesday morning, her office had received 21,095 ballots or 40 percent of registered voters in Sutter County.
“I would say it’s busier than we anticipated,” Johnston said on Tuesday.
She said dropping off ballots was the most popular way of voting on election day. Preparations for the election were put together on an accelerated timeline compared to previous elections.
“It feels wonderful,” Johnston said of getting to election day.
B.J. Wilson said he’s voted as long as he’s been eligible and dropped off his ballot at Sutter County Veterans Hall on Tuesday.
“It makes it easier but either way it doesn’t matter for me I’ll do either one,” Wilson said of dropping off a ballot. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice, you can’t complain. You have to accept what’s being poured out of the pot.”
Outside the hall, Richard Tenhaken and Will Rickey collected ballots being dropped off by people who stayed in their cars as they pulled up. Rickey said the flow had been constant on Tuesday. Tenhaken and Rickey made sure voters’ names were on the front and back of the envelope and that they filled out the residential address.
“I think it makes it much more convenient for the citizen,” Tenhaken said. “If they want to, they can drop it off or they have the option to go in and drop it off themselves.”
At the nearby Sutter County Elections Office Joe Ferrie and Meigan Soo voted in person with six-year-old Ryann Ferrie in tow. Soo said it’s important for kids to see how voting works and that Ryann Ferrie has come along when they’ve voted in the past.
“It’s your right as an American to come inside and cast your vote,” Joe Ferrie said. “There’s just something special about being there and filling it yourself on site than just filling something out at home and dropping it off. It’s our duty as an American to come in and do this.”
Elections Clerk-Recorder Terry Hansen said as of Tuesday morning, around 14,600 ballots had been collected. She said things went smoothly on election day with lots of ballots being dropped off at drop boxes outside the Yuba County Government Center in Marysville.
Sandra Day voted in person at the government center on Tuesday and said she feels more comfortable filling out her own ballot at a polling site as opposed to dropping it off or mailing it in.
“I’ve always voted in person and I did that today,” Day said. “I just feel it’s more one-on-one, direct and there’s no room for any issues.”
Hansen said the challenge for this election was finding enough poll workers.
“It was really difficult with the poll workers. They’ve committed, fallen through, committed, fallen through, gotten sick. Called at the last minute and canceled. Poll workers have been a real problem,” Hansen said. “Other than that, it was just on a shorter, tighter timeline but you have to do what you have to do and fortunately it’s a single card ballot so it’ll be easier to tally.”
She said tallying will continue through Tuesday evening.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday) is strictly getting all our equipment home from the polling sites, organizing everything,” Hansen said. “We’ll have thousands of ballots that are dropped off at the polling site; vote by mail ballots that people just drop them off there.”