701 OCEAN ST., ROOM 210
831-454-2060 / FAX: 831-454-2445
Toll Free 1-866-282-5900

January 30, 2004
Contact: Gail L. Pellerin, Elections Manager

March Primary Voting Begins Monday

The first day to obtain and vote an absentee ballot for the March Primary is Monday, February 2.

Santa Cruz County Elections officials plan to mail out 24,400 of those ballots on Monday to voters who are permanent absentee voters and to approximately 2,800 voters who reside in a precinct that will automatically be mailed ballots due to there being less than 250 voters in the area.

Voters who want to vote in person, may do so at the Santa Cruz County Elections Department located at 701 Ocean St., Room 210 in Santa Cruz or at the Watsonville City Clerk’s Office, 215 Union Street, Second Floor in Watsonville. Hours at both locations are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

To request that a ballot be mailed to you, voters must complete a request for an absentee ballot. Applications are on the back cover of the county’s Sample Ballot and Voter’s Information Pamphlet that has begun to be mailed to county voters. Voters may also complete and submit an application online at or download a form and FAX it to 831-454-2445, mail it to the Elections Department or drop it off in person. Absentee ballot applications are also available at the City Clerk’s Offices in Capitola, Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley. Voters may also write a note including the voter’s residence address in Santa Cruz County, mailing address and signature requesting the vote-by-mail ballot for the March 2, 2004 Primary Election. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is February 24.

Election officials encourage any person who is not registered to vote, to do so by Monday February 2 in order to ensure that election materials will be mailed to them. Otherwise, the last day to register to vote in the March 2, 2004 Presidential Primary Election is February 17.

Voting at the County Elections Department and Watsonville will be available through Election Day. In addition to the regular business hours, the offices will offer weekend voting on February 28 and 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Santa Cruz voting site will remain at the Elections Department, while the South County voting operation will move to the City Council Chambers, located at 250 Main Street, for weekend voting, Monday voting on March 1 as well as Election Day voting on March 2.

Many voters use the vote-by-mail applications supplied by various political campaigns. Santa Cruz County election officials, however, stress that voters have the legal right to mail or deliver the applications directly to the local elections official rather than the political campaign. Returning vote-by-mail applications to anyone other than the elections official may cause a delay that could interfere with the voter’s right to vote, officials warned.

The number of voters who vote-by-mail has increased over the years with the largest number of vote-by-mail ballots, 39,155 issued in the last Presidential General Election in November 2000. In a major election, approximately 20 to 25 percent of the registered voters will request a vote-by-mail ballot. The record, however, is for a special election where 36 percent of the registered voters requested vote-by-mail ballots.

Vote-by-Mail ballots sent to voters may be returned by the voter by mail or dropped off at any polling place in Santa Cruz County on Election Day. Voters may also drop off ballots during regular business hours at the county Elections Department in Santa Cruz, or the City Clerks' offices in Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley or Watsonville during regular business hours. Ballots must be received by an elections official no later than 8 p.m. on March 2, 2004, postmark is not acceptable. There is a white mailbox in front of the County Government Center where voters may drive up and deposit their vote-by-mail ballot, as well.

A vote-by-mail voter, however, who, because of illness or other physical disability, is unable to return the ballot, may designate his or her spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister or person residing in the same household to return the ballot to the county Elections Department, City Clerk's office, or to any polling place on election day. The authorization for another person to return the vote-by-mail ballot is located on the back of the ballot return envelope.

It is extremely important for voters to sign their application for a vote-by-mail ballot and the vote-by-mail ballot return envelope, in addition to completing all of the other information requested, including the address where the voter lives in Santa Cruz County.

Unfortunately, if there is no signature on the vote-by-mail ballot return envelope or if the signature on the envelope does not match the voter’s signature on his or her voter’s registration card, election officials cannot count the ballot.


For more information, please call the Santa Cruz County Elections Department at 831-454-2060, visit our office at 701 Ocean St., Room 210 in Santa Cruz, or check out our website at