Group Seeks More Polling Places in Fresno Co

FRESNO, Calif.

Voters have been coming in to cast their ballots and many have been calling in to find out where to vote. The County Clerk's Office opened 20 polling places for voting on Saturday, but with 200 hundred polling places shut down since the June primary, one group is asking for more.

While voters were inside casting ballots, personnel were fielding calls from voters -- many confused about where to vote on Tuesday.

A few volunteers from the group "Communities for a New California" gathered across the street calling for additional polling places to be made available on Tuesday. The group is still upset over County Clerk Victor Salazar's decision to reduce the number of polling places .

During the June primary, 405 polling places were open. On Election Day there will be only 205. After the group complained to the Fresno County Supervisors, Salazar agreed to open 20 polling places for early voting this past Saturday.

Daniela Simunovic with Community for a New California said, "Because of what they were able to do on Saturday we believe they can do it again tomorrow, Tuesday, election day, which is the most critical day."

The group presented Salazar with a letter and petition, calling for more polling places. Salazar responded that he would read their letter when he had the time. His decision to close the polling places was done after the Board of Supervisors cut his budget. The closures could result in legal action after the election.

"People threatened to sue us is if we didn't reopen 200 sites, another group threatened to sue us if we did. One group threatened to sue us if we didn't have Saturday voting, another group threatened to sue us if we did," said Fresno County Clerk Victor Salazar.

Members of CNC fanned out through Fresno neighborhoods, contacting voters to let them know the locations of their polling places. If there's not confusion on Election Day, there may be long lines at some polling places.

During the primary, there were 405 polling places, and a 33-percent voter turnout. Salazar expects this election to draw up to 56-percent of the registered voters. That's a nearly 70 % increase in voters, with only half as many places to vote.

Anyone who can't find a polling place can come down to the Elections Office in Downtown Fresno and cast a ballot on Tuesday. Salazer notes the majority of voters now mail in their ballots, and so far, about 50-percent of the mail in ballots have been returned. They must be received at the Clerks Office, or turned in to a polling place when the polls close Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

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