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 changing?​

Starting with the June 7, 2022, Statewide Direct Primary Election 

  1. Every registered voter will be mailed a Vote-by-Mail ballot starting 29 days before Election Day
  2. 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
  3. In-person voting is still available. Voters can vote at any of the Vote Centers in Santa Cruz County
    1. 2 Voting Locations will be open for 29 days, including Election Day
    2. 5 Vote Centers will be open 11 days, including Election Day
    3. 13 Additional Vote Centers will be open for 4 days, including Election Day
  4. 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!

Consultation Meetings were held on Monday, April 18, 2022 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm and Tuesday, April 19, 2022 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Input from these meetings were used to develop the Draft EAP.

A Draft Election Administration Plan (Draft EAP) was posted on April 22, 2022, 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 was accepted through May 5, 2022, and using those comments an Amended Draft EAP was posted on May 10, 2022. Please click here to view it.

Following the public comments accepted through May 24, 2022, the EAP was updated and adopted by the County and submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.