San Benito County Elections Associate Luis Pena checks the ballot drop box outside the Community Food Bank on San Felipe Road on Oct. 11. Photo: Michael Moore

Voting has begun in the Nov. 8 election, as voters throughout California will receive ballots in the coming days—and can drop them off, completed and signed, at authorized locations now through Election Day.

Elections officials in San Benito County began sending ballots in the mail on Oct. 10. Also on that day, the local elections office opened up official, standalone ballot drop boxes at six locations throughout the county where any voter can submit their filled out ballot before Nov. 8.

Starting Oct. 29, two vote centers in San Benito County will be open every day through Nov. 8, where people can vote in-person or drop off their completed ballots. These vote centers are located at the San Juan Bautista Community Center, 10 San Jose Street, in San Juan Bautista; and the county elections department, 440 Fifth Street.

And starting Nov. 5, two additional vote centers will be open to accept filled out ballots or in-person voters. These are located at the California National Guard Armory, 2302 San Felipe Road in Hollister; and St. Benedict’s Church, 1200 Fairview Road in Hollister.

Any voter registered in San Benito County can vote or drop off their ballot at any voting center or drop box anywhere in the county.

Local drop box locations, where voters can submit their ballots 24/7 until 8pm Nov. 8, are found at: in Winn Alley, behind the county elections office on Fourth Street; near True Value hardware store at 1260 Fourth Street; Community Food Bank at 1133 San Felipe Road; Ridgemark Office parking lot, 100 Ridgemark Drive; Fire Station No. 2, 2240 Valley View Road; and Windmill Shopping Center in San Juan Bautista.

County elections staff are checking each of the drop boxes every day to collect ballots that have been dropped off. 

Voters can also return their completed, signed ballots by mail using the self-addressed, postage-paid envelope that is included with the blank ballot.

Elections officials are reminding voters to make sure they sign and date their ballots on the designated line before dropping them off or mailing them to the elections office.

“We’re urging all Californians to vote early this year. You don’t have to wait until Election Day because voting-by-mail makes it easy as soon as you get your ballots,” Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber said. “Every person who votes early will help keep lines shorter and reduce wait times at in-person voting locations on Election Day.”

Voters are also encouraged to update their status if they have moved their residence or changed their name or party affiliation since the last time they voted. Anyone unsure of their registration status can check the Secretary of State’s “My Voter Status” tool at

The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is Oct. 24.

Security measures taken by elections officials to ensure the safe completion and return of ballots include specific types of paper and watermarks on the ballot; unique bar codes that election officials can scan from each ballot; and requiring signatures on all submitted ballots, says the press release from the secretary of state’s office.  

For more details about the Nov. 8 election and to make sure you receive a ballot, visit the San Benito County elections office website at

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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