Fresno County voter turn out solution

FRESNO, California

Lincoln Elementary is one of the polling sites that was open during the June primary but was shut down for next week's election to close a $400,000 budget gap. Monday, the registrar announced a new effort to help voters get to the polls.

This coming Saturday mobile voting stations like this one will roll out to twenty different locations across Fresno County. Southwest Fresno resident Anita Castro hopes her location at Lincoln Elementary reopens. She said she was sad when it closed because her 18-year-old son Jose did not have a car or easy access to a bus route that could take him to the new polling location at Chandler airport.

"This is the most challenging election that I've encountered," said Fresno County Registrar Victor Salazar.

Salazar had 400 polling places in June but had to reduce his budget so he closed half of them.

Salazar: "I'd be much more comfortable if we had adequate resources to be able to maintain the number of polling places we had in the past."

After several complaints Salazar decided Monday to mail out post cards to all registered voters informing them of the new polling locations. Signs will also be located at old sites with a phone number that helps callers locate the nearest polling place.

The Saturday before the November election voting machines will be available throughout the county to allow early voting.

Communities for a New California (C.N.C.) are happy with Salazar's new plan but still believe he can do more to help voters.

"There's just so many polling places being closed that if it's possible to set up some of these voting machines in some of the most impacted areas on Election Day. We believe that is still doable and that's necessary," said C.N.C. director Sabina Gonzalez.

Salazar has not announced the location of the early voting poll stations. Those sites will be released Tuesday morning. But we do have that voter information number. It is 600-VOTE (8683).

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