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City receives 2,200-plus absentee ballots

Posted: March 20, 2008 1:35 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
The five City Council candidates' campaigns are in full swing, but thousands of voters have already made up their minds.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the City Clerk's office had received a total of 2,204 absentee ballots, according to City Clerk Sharon Dawson.

That amounts to 903 ballots that were received on Monday and 1,301 on Tuesday, according to Dawson.
She said that 15,158 permanent absentee ballots were mailed to residents, so nearly 13,000 ballots have yet to be filled out and sent back before the April 8 election.

Although Dawson said that the current number of incoming ballots is on track with previous elections, there has been a "significant change" in the number of requested permanent ballots.

For the 2006 election, 7,195 were absentee voter ballots out of more than 12,000 ballots that were mailed to residents.

A total of 11,982 ballots were cast in the 2006 election, which includes both voters who went to the polls and voted by mail.

Dawson attributes the rise in number of permanent ballot requests to an increase in Santa Clarita's population and a greater interest among voters regarding the 2008 presidential primaries.

As the absentee ballots continue to be delivered to her office, Dawson said the office has brought on three extra people, along with the staff of five, to help with the election ballot procedure.

Calling the process "intense," she said now the office has to follow specific steps to verify the ballots and signatures against the records from the original voter registration card on file with Los Angeles County.

"We match them up and they go through a process and they are prepared for counting on election day," Dawson said.

Signal Staff Writer Katherine Geyer contributed to this report.

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