The San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters is going paperless.
At least partially.
Last week Registrar Melinda Dubroff sent out an email to the majority of the county’s registered voters letting them know that they can now, if they so choose, opt-out of receiving the county’s sample ballot and voter information pamphlet and get the information from the registrar’s routinely-updated website.
According to Dubroff, the opt-out process was made possible by a state law passed in 2011 (AB1717) intended to curb waste and allow residents who tend to get their information from electronic sources to find it online.
Those that choose to take advantage of the program can sign up with an email address that will be kept confidential from campaigns and other public records searches, and the registrar will email those who gone paperless when the updated voter information is posted to its website.
“I think this will benefit more modern, younger voters – voters who rely heavily on technology,” Dubroff said. “Not everybody waits to receive their paper sample ballot, and there are a lot of people out there that don’t know that this is even possible right now.
“We want to get the word out there that they can take advantage of this, especially in an election year.”
According to Dubroff, there are 334,000 registered voters in the county – a number that is expected to grow between now and one of the most heavily-anticipated midterm elections in history – and so far, there are 13,700 people that have taken advantage of the opt-out procedure.
And after the email announcing the program was distributed over the weekend, Dubroff said that her office received hundreds of phone calls from people wanting to give their e-mail addresses and do away with the paper sample ballots and candidate pamphlets that have long been a staple of election season.
“The last thing that some people want to see in their mailbox at election time is more mail,” she said. “We want to be able to provide something for those people who still want to be engaged but also want something different.”
While the program is still in its infancy in San Joaquin County, Dubroff believes that if more people sign-up – enough to equate to about 10 percent of the total registered voters in the county – then there could end up being significant savings to the county.
She reiterated in the email that was distributed that any email that is given to her office as part of the opt-out procedure will be shielded from campaigns who request voter data. Families and households where multiple registered voters reside that would rather share a single sample ballot could, she wrote, opt-out for all but one of the registered voters.
While the deadline to not receive paper sample ballots for the upcoming midterm elections has passed – it was on Sept. 14 – anybody who fills out the form online between now and the election will see it apply the next time one of the two mailers goes out.
For additional information, or to access the form required to opt-out, visit www.sjcrov.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.