What is the Voters Choice Act?
The Voters Choice Act is a new law passed by the California State Legislature in 2016. The VCA was implemented successfully in the Counties of Butte, Nevada, El Dorado, Amador, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Napa, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and Orange.
What’s the Voters Choice Act look like?
- Every registered voter will be mailed a Vote-by-Mail ballot starting 29 days before Election Day
- The ballot you receive in the mail can be returned by mail, in-person at a voting location or at an official ballot drop box
- In-person voting is still available. Voters can vote at any of the Vote Centers in Santa Cruz County
- 2 Voting Locations will be open for 29 days, including Election Day
- 5 Vote Centers will be open 11 days, including Election Day
- 13 Additional Vote Centers will be open for 4 days, including Election Day
- 4 more locations "pop-up" on Election Day
- 17 Drop Boxes will be available for 29 days, including Election Day
Compared to the traditional polling place model, there are more locations to get a replacement ballot (on-demand), more accessible voting machines, and more language assistance at Vote Centers.
What is a Vote Center?
Vote Centers replace traditional polling places. Any Santa Cruz County voter may vote at any Vote Center within Santa Cruz County. Some Vote Centers will be open for 11 days and all Vote Center locations will be open 4 days, including Election Day.
Vote Centers offer a full-service voting experience:
- Vote using an accessible ballot marking device.
- Receive voting assistance.
- Register to vote or update your registration and vote on the same day.
- Request a replacement ballot.
Election Administration Plan:
The Election Administration Plan (EAP) is the roadmap that Santa Cruz County Clerk/Elections will use to conduct elections under the Voters Choice Act. The EAP details how you:
- will receive a ballot in the mail
- can return the ballot that was mailed to you
- can vote in-person
- can vote using an accessible ballot marking device
- can obtain language services
- and more!
Santa Cruz County's first Election Administration Plan (EAP) was finalized on May 24, 2022, and a Supplemental to the EAP was finalized October 26, 2022.
Pursuant to the California Elections Code, EAPs need to be renewed on a regular basis. Accordingly, a Draft Election Administration Plan (Draft EAP) was posted on October 18, 2023, for public comment. Please click here to view it. The Draft EAP lists the proposed in-person voting locations, the dates and times each of them are open, and the ballot drop off locations.
Public comment will be accepted through November 1, 2023 through a variety of methods:
Public Comment Form on www.votescount.us
In person or by mail to County Clerk/Elections Department 701 Ocean St Room 310, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Public Hearings on
Thursday, October 26 2pm-4pm at the Santa Cruz County Government Center, 701 Ocean St Room 310, Santa Cruz
Meeting ID: 838 1117 2278
Friday, October 27 1pm - 3pm at the Watsonville Library Community Room, 275 Main St 1st Floor, Watsonville *** Room and time change ***
There is a room and time change due to the 4th floor Community Room no longer being available.
Meeting ID: 869 7632 4453
Monday, October 30 630pm-830pm at the Santa Cruz County Government Center, 701 Ocean St Room 310, Santa Cruz
Meeting ID: 838 1861 9835
Wednesday, November 1 1030am-1230pm at the Felton Public Library, 6121 Gushee St, Felton
Meeting ID: 834 1553 2587
At the close of the public comment period, the EAP will be reviewed and edited (if needed). If no edits are made it will be adopted by the County and submitted to the Secretary of State for approval. If edits are needed, they will be made and the EAP will be put on public review again and comments will be accepted. That timeline - if needed - will be posted on November 1 after 5pm.