BY EDGAR SANCHEZ
Tamie Dramer treasures her right to vote.
The Sacramento resident has voted in every presidential election — and in every mid-term and primary contest — since 1988.
“Voting is important for me, because I want my government to represent my values,” said Dramer, chair of Organize Sacramento. “If people don’t vote, we can’t count on our collective values being represented.”
“Voting is important for me, because I want my government to represent my values. If I people don’t vote, we can’t count on our collective values being represented.”Tamie Dramer
Chair, Organize Sacramento
Her nonprofit, Organize Sacramento, is part of the Sacramento.VOTE Coalition that is educating Sacramento County voters on the “More Days, More Ways” they can vote in the General Election.
Starting with the June Primary Election, Sacramento and four other California counties made it more convenient to vote under an early voting format created by the 2016 Voter’s Choice Act. If the new system succeeds, other counties in the state can opt to adopt it beginning in 2020.
A slogan being used in outreach, “More Days, More Ways” refers to the expanded number of days and ways to vote. For instance, voting by mail began on Oct. 8 — 29 days before Election Day — when the county’s 747,000 registered voters began returning Vote-by-Mail ballots that they received.
Every voter chooses how to vote:
- Through the U.S. mail in the pink return envelope, or
- By placing the ballots they received in the mail — postage-free — in any of 53 Ballot Drop Boxes that opened Oct. 9 throughout Sacramento County, or
- Beginning 11 days before Election Day by dropping off the ballots at vote centers — or voting in person with a ballot printed right on site by the County there.
Eleven Vote Centers will open Saturday, Oct. 27, and will remain open 11 days, through Election Day. Another 67 Vote Centers open Nov. 3, marking the first time Vote Centers are open on weekends.
“People can go to any Vote Center they choose and cast their ballot,” Dramer said, noting that Voter’s Choice eliminated assigned polling places.
Another exciting new opportunity for voters through Voter’s Choice is eligible voters may also register to vote at any Vote Center and vote the same day.
The California Endowment is supporting efforts to promote the Voter’s Choice Act and increase civic engagement through voting.
As part of its get-out- the-vote effort, the coalition is distributing 50,000 “More Ways, More Days” leaflets, printed in both English and Spanish, which will be distributed through local organizations, churches, synagogues and temples, and on public transportation.
Leaflets in Hmong/English are being disseminated by coalition member Hmong Innovating Politics.
Under the Voter’s Choice Act changes in the June 5 Primary, the county’s voter turnout increased 12 percentage points over 2014’s mid-term Primary — an impressive increase for the county’s first experience with the new voting system.