The generalized use of in-person voting may present risks to public health and safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SANTA ANA - In-person Vote Center voting in the Westminster Special Recall Election, which was scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 28, 2020 and run through April 7, 2020, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 response. The following previously scheduled locations will now be closed to in-person voting:
- Miriam Warne Community Building, 14491 Beach Boulevard, Westminster
- Sigler Park Family Resource Center, 7200 Plaza Street, Westminster
- Orange County Registrar of Voters, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Santa Ana
Pursuant to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order (N-34-20), the generalized use of in-person voting may present risks to public health and safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and could risk undermining social distancing measures imposed by the State Public Health Officer, as well as other aspects of the response to COVID-19.
Additional Options for Voters
The Special Westminster Recall Election will proceed under the special provisions of a mail ballot election. Orange County made the transition to the Voter’s Choice Act beginning with elections in 2020. Under this method of voting, every voter in an election receives a vote-by-mail ballot. Each voter in the City of Westminster was mailed a ballot on March 9, 2020. Voters have the following options for returning their vote-by-mail ballot:
- Mail their ballot (postage is pre-paid) so that it is postmarked by Election Day, April 7
- Drop off their ballot at the Registrar of Voters’ ballot drop box, open 24-hours per day, no later than 8 p.m. on April 7, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Santa Ana
- Drop off their ballot at a ballot drop box located in the City of Westminster, open 24-hours per day, at the following locations no later than 8 p.m. on April 7:
- Korean Martyrs Catholic Center, 7655 Trask Avenue, (Btwn Hoover St. & Beach Blvd.)
- Park West Park, 8301 West McFadden Street, (Btwn Beach Blvd. & Newland St.)
- West County Professional and Medical Center, 14120 Beach Boulevard, (South of Westminster Blvd.; enter on 15 St.)
Options for Voters with Disabilities or Voters Impacted by COVID-19
The Registrar of Voters’ Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail ballot system provides voters with disabilities and those impacted by COVID-19 the option to request a Vote-by-Mail ballot to be delivered electronically. The electronic ballot can be downloaded to the voter’s computer, marked using the voter’s own assistive technology and then printed. Voters should follow the return instructions included with the electronic ballot. To request a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail ballot voters can:
- Complete the postcard with pre-paid postage located on the back of the Voter Information Guide (which was mailed to voters on March 5, 2020)
- Visit ocvote.com/myballot
- Call the Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Requests must be received no later than March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. (pursuant to the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 20901 et seq.)
- Voters with disabilities, or particularized needs, who are unable to download or cast an electronic ballot, should call the Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600 no later than April 3, 2020 to discuss options for casting a ballot in this election
Communication with Westminster Voters
In addition to this widely distributed press release, the Registrar of Voters will be using the following methods to communicate these changes to the voters in the City of Westminster pursuant to the Governor’s Order that “…maximum possible notice to voters about how to participate in (this election) shall be given, paying particular attention to the needs of voters at high risk from COVID-19, individuals with disabilities, and other voters with particularized needs:
- A direct mail postcard will be sent to all voters in the City of Westminster (on Monday, March 23, 2020) providing them notice of closures and alternative options for casting a ballot (this notice will also include translated versions for those voters who have requested bilingual assistance)
- An email notice will be sent to all voters (with emails on file in their voter record) in the City of Westminster (on Monday, March 23, 2020) providing them notice of closures and alternative options for casting a ballot (this notice will also include translated versions for those voters who have requested bilingual assistance)
- Notices will be prominently placed on the closed in-person locations in English as well as Chinese, Farsi (Persian), Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese
- Voters are encouraged to review their Voter Information Guide for additional information
- If a voter did not receive their ballot in the mail, they may visit ocvote.com/replacement to request a replacement ballot
- Voters can call the Registrar of Voters office at 714-567-7600 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for assistance or visit ocvote.com for further details
On March 19, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order (N-33-20), which requires compliance with the order by the California State Public Health Officer and Director of Public Health for “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence” until further notice in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the aforementioned Order, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order (N-34-20) on March 20, 2020, which reads in part that “…on April 7, 2020, a Special Recall Election will be held in the City of Westminster, in the County of Orange, and that state law would ordinarily require that (this) election be conducted using in-person voting at polling locations throughout (the City of Westminster); the generalized us of in-person voting presents risks to public health and safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and could risk undermining social distancing measures imposed by the State Public Health Officer, as well as other aspects of the response to COVID-19; and that California’s existing vote-by-mail procedures can be used to allow (this) election to go forward in a manner that is accessible, secure, and safe”.
The Order goes on to say that pursuant to the Governor’s authority the election “shall be held as an all-mail ballot election and conducted according to those provisions of the Elections Code that govern all-mail ballot elections, including but not limited to Elections Code sections 3000-3026 and 4100”.