Safety, security top pre-Election Day checklist

Safety, security top pre-Election Day checklist

Safety, security top pre-Election Day checklist

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY—For all the dire predictions being voiced ahead of the November general election, it appears it’s all systems go for Contra Costa County election officials as they work to cover all their bases for the big day.

Since March, the county has purchased 25 additional secure drop boxes for vote-by-mail ballots, bringing the total to 37. Ten of the county’s 17 designated Regional Early Voting sites will serve voters in outdoor event tents, and strict adherence to the county’s ordinance requiring masks indoors and in public are elements of the action plan developed to alleviate concerns over the safety of the election process and threats to public health as the coronavirus seems to show no signs of abating.

“We are encouraging all voters to cast the ballot that is mailed to them and to return it via the mail or to a secure drop box,” said Sophie Lehman, Elections Service manager.

In the Concord and Clayton areas, the 24/7 drop boxes will be positioned at:

  • Clayton Library, 6125 ­Clayton Road.
  • Concord City Hall, 1950 Parkside Dr.
  • Monument Crisis Center, 1990 Market St., Concord.
  • First Lutheran Church, 4000 Concord Blvd., Concord.

If voters have reservations about their ballots, they can also sign up for free notifications about the status of their ballot – when it’s mailed, received and counted – at

Ballots will go out in the mail on Oct. 5. If voters want to vote the old-fashioned way – in person – but can’t wait until Nov. 3, they can cast their ballots at one of the Regional Early Voting sites. They will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31; and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2. The ones in Concord are at the Clarion Hotel, 1050 Burnett Ave.; outdoors at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 1955 Kirker Pass Road; and outdoors at El Rancho Restaurant, 1450 Monument Blvd.

New training for poll workers

Health, safety and election security are important for the nearly 1,000 poll workers who will greet the electorate at the nearly 150 polling stations around the county.

“The function of our office is essential, and so are our poll workers,” Lehman said. “We do extensive preparation beforehand to ensure a successful election, but on Election Day, we turn it over to our poll workers. We have to be able to trust and rely on them to ensure democracy works.”

The required training for workers will take place in October and will include an in-person class and a live remote class. The in-person class will be outdoors under canopies and is dedicated to giving poll workers hands-on training with the new electronic poll books. Masks and distancing are required. Procedure training will take place via Zoom sessions.

Lehman acknowledged this year’s election brings a unique set of challenges for the group of poll workers that has served for many years.
“Few of our procedures have changed for this election; instead it’s a matter of contextualizing them for COVID and ensuring we communicate proper distancing and sanitization protocols to keep poll workers and voters safe,” she said.