Fresno County seeing surge in early voting, clerk expects record-breaking voter turnout


FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) — With only seven days until the election, already more people have voted by mail this year than those that voted by mail in 2016.

There have been approximately 166,000 votes cast by mail, in-person, Fresno County drop boxes. Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth said that is 6,000 more than the total mail-in ballots cast in the 2016 General Election.

“We are still seven days out,” said Orth. “So I think we are headed for some historic numbers here.”

According to the U.S. Elections Project, a report headed by a University of Florida Professor, 66 million have been cast nationally so far. That is equal to 48% of the total votes from the 2016 General Election.

In Fresno County, 33% of the 496,000 registered voters have cast their ballot.

“The young people we are the future,” said Fresno County voter Brock Sanders who dropped off his ballot at the Fresno County Elections Office. “So get out there and vote. Do it if you can. Let’s go.”

Mary Williams usually fills out her ballot at the voting center but decided to vote early this year.

“This is the earliest I have ever voted in my life,” said Williams. “We have always enjoyed going to the polling places but if this is what we have to do this year then this is what we are going to do this year.”

Once people turn in their ballot, it travels to the county warehouse where the signature is verified, the ballot is removed from it’s envelope, it is flattened, and then pushed through a counting machine.

The machine tallies the vote, but the results won’t be revealed until election night. To date, approximately 130,000 ballots made it through the process.

“My goal is always to stay on top of the volume so that when we push out the results at 8:05 election night, there will be as many ballots that have gone through the system up to that Monday. So, we are staying on top of the volume.”

Around 292,000 of the 471,000 registered voters cast ballots in 2016.

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