ARC opens voting location ahead of Election Day

ARC is one of 84 Sacramento County early voting locations

Jorge+Perez%2C+Sacramento+County+election+assistant%2C+stands+in+front+of+voting+booths+inside+the+ARC+community+room+that+he+and+a+group+of+Sacramento+county+assistants+set+up+for+the+college+for+early+voting+and+Election+Day.+%28Photo+by+Irvis+Orozco%29

Jorge Perez, Sacramento County election assistant, stands in front of voting booths inside the ARC community room that he and a group of Sacramento county assistants set up for the college for early voting and Election Day. (Photo by Irvis Orozco)

Irvis Orozco, Staff Writer

American River College opened as one of 84 Sacramento County voting centers on Oct. 31 and will stay open through Election Day. The center opened up early with extended hours in order for people to avoid long lines and COVID-19 crowd exposure that is expected on the day of the election.

The voting location set up by the Sacramento County Registrar is located at ARC’s main campus inside Community Rooms 1 and 2. The voting center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Oct. 31 and will be open on election day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The campus, which has been mostly closed because of COVID-19, has opened via Lot A, which can be accessed through Myrtle Ave. The center is open during the pandemic for in-house voting or for voters to drop off their ballots.

Jorge Perez, Sacramento County election assistant, helped set up ballot machines last week with a group of county voter aides at ARC. Perez said he was enthusiastic for the election and was led to seek work with the Sacramento county elections office because of his passion to help the community.

Perez said he is trying to get more people in the community to vote by sharing his personal story of growing up in an immigrant farm working family in Watsonville, Calif., a city 18 miles from Santa Cruz. Perez said his father became a green card holder with the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 under former President Ronald Regan.

Perez says how he would like to see more immigrants become U.S. citizens just like he was able to at the age of 18.

“I am an immigrant, my father got my family’s papers fixed when I was 5 years old,” Perez said. “Working at the registrar’s office, I have found that people’s votes are important, especially if they want to change their community. If they want to pay less or more taxes, the election counts not just nationally but also locally.”

Perez added that the Sacramento office is busy setting up these extra voting locations and additional opening times. The office is also busy verifying vote signatures and assuring no voter irregularities happen.

Perez said that the deadline to receive mail-in ballots has passed, but voters can still come to voting locations including the one at ARC and sign up to vote even on the day of the election.

“People can still come and get what we call a provisional ballot. If they move or if they have’t received their ballot in the mail they can come into any of our locations,” Perez said.

Registered voters should have gotten a voter guide and map which shows them their closest location. They can also go to the Sacramento County Elections website or call 311 to get information about voting and ballot drop off locations closest to them, according to Perez.

Sacramento Regional Transit is also offering free rides to voting locations and ballot drop box locations through Election Day.

Voter identification is not needed to vote the day of the election unless it’s the voters’ first time signing up to vote in the county, Perez said. He added that there is a list of several accepted documents that are required to register to vote on the Sacramento registration website.

Precautions taken by the registrar’s office due to COVID-19 will involve limiting the amount of people inside the building.

“We will be enforcing COVID-19 regulations of 6 feet apart, and only allowing a limited amount of people into the building, which might lead to long lines,” Perez said.

Other extra precautions by the county include sanitizing the voting booths after every person votes, requiring the wearing of masks upon entry and handing out single pens to each voter that will not be reused, according to Perez.

“Make sure to put the ballot in the pink envelope we send and to make sure to properly sign the ballot and date it … We assure that we are taking measures only to get counted once,” Perez said.

Perez said he is advocating for voters to come and vote early, to make sure people don’t get caught up in long lines. Voters can also use Ballot Trax to make sure that their ballot has been counted.