By Debra Moore
It’s still more than two weeks until election day, but already the Plumas County Elections Office has seen a 24 percent ballot return. “We are leading the state,” said Kathy Williams, county clerk-recorder this morning, Oct. 15.
She said at this point in the 2016 election, the county had received 1,250 ballots, but this year more than 3,000 ballots have been returned. “That’s more than double,” Williams said. “Voters are heeding the advice to vote early. I think this is going to be a really good turnout.”
Thus far about half of the ballots have arrived by mail, while the other half have been deposited in the ballot collection box in front of the courthouse. She said that a few voters insist on hand carrying their ballot into the elections office on the first floor of the county courthouse. Williams said that on Nov. 3, election day, a table will be set up near the front door of the courthouse and elections staff will collect ballots there. This is to prevent people from entering the small elections office in an effort to protect staff and the public from coronavirus.
In an interesting twist, one former poll worker reported receiving calls from voters curious about a series of numbers and letters printed in tiny type on the backside of the mail-in envelope. They read: 32-QBRMB-1120. Voters were concerned that the “R” stood for Republican and wondered if other envelopes had a “D” to identify Democrats.
Williams said she and her staff got a good laugh. “It has to do with our business rate mailing for ballots,” she said, explaining that 32 represents Plumas County (32 out of 58 counties in the state); QBRMB represents Qualified Business Reply Mail; and 1120 represents the election date: November of 2020.
All ballots must be delivered or postmarked by Nov. 3 to be counted. There will be a delay in counting ballots that are mailed on Nov. 3 because they can’t be counted until they arrive in the county elections office, so voters are encouraged to mail their ballots early.