The Ballot Bulletin

Volume 4, February 2024

From the Desk of the Registrar of Voters

Hello, Nevada County! I hope that you’re as excited as I am for the upcoming March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election! Your ballots were delivered to the US Postal Service yesterday on February 5 and should be in your mailbox soon.

Our team has been working hard to get ballots to all active, registered voters well ahead of the election. As we explained in Volume 2, Presidential primaries are complex and we need to make sure that we have your correct address and party affiliation so that you get the ballot that you expect.

If for whatever reason we got it wrong, please let us know as soon as you can so that we can make it right. If you’re unsure about why you got the ballot you received in the mail, read on and maybe this issue will help shed some light on this important part of the elections process.

Natalie Adona

Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters

Election News: Ballots! Ballots! Ballots!

Logo saying Ballots

It’s time to vote! Your ballots are arriving in your mailbox soon. (Or if you’re one of our military or overseas voters, then you should already have your ballot in hand.) With the help of your State and County Voter Information Guides, you have plenty of time to do your research, consult with friends and family, and make informed choices for this election.

Voters will notice some changes to their ballots that we hope will make the voting process easy to understand. Here’s a few that our office would like to highlight:

  • Voting Instructions: Please completely fill in the square next to the candidate or selection of your choice and use a blue or black pen to vote. We ask that you use a blue or black pen so that the equipment can easily detect your choices. If a ballot comes back to us with choices marked in red ink, for example, our office can still count the ballot but it will take extra time for us to process. If you don’t fill in the square completely, it can be harder for the machine to read your vote. Again, we can take steps to make sure your vote is processed accurately, but it takes extra time.

  • Message for No Party Preference/Nonpartisan voters: Sometimes, voters are surprised when they get a ballot with no candidates for president. It’s usually the result of a recent visit to the DMV, but there could have been some administrative error. We’re not sure until you make us aware of the problem. The Nonpartisan ballots include an explanation why there are no candidates for president and what to do if you believe you’ve received one in error. 

  • Instructions for US Senate: There are two contests for the same US Senate seat. That’s not a mistake, and you can absolutely vote in both! The full-term contest is to vote for your next US Senator; the partial/unexpired term seat is to fill the vacancy left by the death of Dianne Feinstein.

Speaking of the US Senate: there are so many candidates who are running for that seat, the list of candidates occupies multiple columns. We know that’s annoying (sorry about that!), but we do want voters to be aware so you know that there might be more choices in the next column to consider. 

Did You Know?

The first jurisdiction to vote using the secret ballot was Louisville, Kentucky in 1888. Also referred to as the Australian Ballot, it was a controversial decision but deemed necessary to protect voters from intimidation at the polls and to address concerns around the role of money in politics.

Want to read more? A History of the Australian Ballot System in the United States, a dissertation written by Eldon Cobb Evans, sets forth the early evolution of in-person voting in the US and why Americans ultimately decided that the government should be responsible for ballot printing.

Word of the Month: BALLOT

All official ballots are paper ballots in California. Most voters make their choices directly on a paper ballot without using any other tools to help them vote. 

However, some voters need extra help so that they can ultimately submit an official ballot. Voters with sight limitations, for example, may find it easier to listen to their ballot or may need to use a machine to help enlarge text. Our military and overseas voters might have a hard time getting mail and depend on the Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail system to receive their ballot.

The definition of what a ballot is covers all ways in which voters might make selections, as articulated in California Elections Code Section 301:

(a) A “ballot” is the presentation of the contests consisting of offices and measures, and the candidates and choices to be voted on.

(b) The ballot presentations shall include either of the following:

(1) One or more ballot cards, as defined in Section 302, upon which are printed the names of candidates for each contest and the ballot titles of measures to be voted on by marking the designated area and that are tabulated manually or by optical scanning equipment. The ballot card may include visual graphics and instructions.

(2) An electronic voting system, certified or conditionally approved by the Secretary of State, upon which the names of the candidates for each contest and the ballot titles of measures to be voted on are selected by touching the screen or using other physical controls. The electronic voting system shall print the selections made by the voter, which may be in the form of a list or facsimile of a marked preprinted ballot.

Want to see for yourself? Here’s the link to the Code!

In the Community

Ballots were dropped in the mail on Monday, February 5 and should arrive in your mailbox soon! If you haven’t gotten your ballot within 5-7 days, please call our office so that we can make sure that you get your ballot. You should have also received your County Voter Information Guide and the State Voter Information Guide. If not, then we can help get those informational materials to you as well.

If you’re ready to vote, feel free to mail in your ballot now! Or use one of our drop boxes that are available throughout the county now through Election Day. You can also drop by the Rood Center or Truckee Town Hall during regular business hours to vote in person or access other election services. 

If you want to take more time to do research, you can also drop by any vote center as we get closer to the election. Please visit our website for drop box and vote center locations and hours for more information.

Calling All Election Workers!

Interested in serving in one of our vote centers this election? Serve our community and your country!

Apply Today

950 Maidu Avenue, Suite 210

Nevada City, CA 95959

Phone: 530-265-1298

Toll Free: 1-888-395-1298

TTY: 530-265-1335

Fax: 530-265-9829

Monday - Friday, excluding Holidays 

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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