County Board Approves Four Satellite Voting Locations

Conditional voter registration took effect during the November 2018 election, leading to long lines at the Registrar of Voters office.

The County Board of Supervisors approved funding for four satellite voting locations for the March 2020 Primary Election during a special board meeting on Monday.

Traditional polling places will remain in place, but the satellite voting locations will act as offshoots of the Registrar’s office. They will open three days before Election Day and be staffed by Registrar employees.

The move came after the recent passage of state Senate Bill 72, which requires the Registrar to allow conditional voter registration at every polling place starting with the March 3 election. That means anyone who wants to register to vote, re-register to vote after an address change, or change their party preference to vote for a presidential candidate, can do so on Election Day. During the last election, conditional voter registration was allowed only at the Registrar’s office, creating long waits for people.

To avoid long lines at the polls or at the Registrar’s office in March, conditional voter registration voters have the option to visit one of the satellite voting locations. Registrar staff will have electronic access to the voter rolls, process requests quickly and give voters their ballots.

Those who go to the polls on Election Day to register and vote will have to vote provisionally. Provisional ballots take longer to process because Registrar staff must check whether the voters were eligible to vote, eligible to vote in the races they marked on the ballot and did not vote twice.

“The fear is long lines at the polls and an increased number of provisional ballots could delay tallying the overall vote by the required certification deadline,” said Registrar of Voter Michael Vu. “The four satellite offices will take some of the pressure off the polling places and provide a smoother overall election process.”

Vu says now is the time to register, check your registration or re-register if you need to, don’t wait until Election Day unless you absolutely must do so. Voters should also understand the rules around voting in the primary election.

Potential locations for the four satellite sites are in San Marcos, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Spring Valley and Chula Vista. They would be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. The hours would extend from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, the same time frame as the polls.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact