A new way of voting is coming to Orange County, and Chapman University will have a role in that development, starting with the March 3 primary election.
The County of Orange is replacing neighborhood precinct polling places with regional vote centers, and Chapman is among the locations where qualified voters can cast their ballots in this new style of voting. Instead of operating nearly 2,000 Election Day precinct polling places, the county will open nearly 200 vote centers, with some opening as early as Saturday, Feb. 22. Chapman’s will be a four-day center, opening on Saturday, Feb. 29, and continuing through Tuesday, March 3.
Each of the centers will serve as a one-stop location for voting, ballot drop-off, voter registration and a variety of related services.
University officials see the presence of a vote center as both a convenience and a means for encouraging greater voter participation by students, faculty and staff, said Justin Koppelman, Ph.D., associate director of Student Engagement.
“It’s easy for us to host this, and if that helps make it easier for students to vote, I think that’s exciting. It opens up the opportunity for students who want to register in Orange County, and it provides another chance for students to be involved,” Koppelman said. “From a staff point of view, it’s nice to have that convenience on campus. It serves faculty and staff in that way, too.”
The University reached out to the county’s registrar of voters to locate a vote center on campus, an effort that dovetails with Student Engagement’s ongoing get-out-the-vote efforts, which earned Chapman national recognition as a Voter Friendly Campus.
“The University is trying to make it easier for all students, regardless of political orientation, to participate,” he said.
The vote centers are just one option. All registered voters in Orange County will receive a vote-by-mail ballot with instructions for traditional mailing.
About the Chapman Vote Center
- The Chapman center will operate in Argyros Forum 119A from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Saturday, Feb. 29, to Monday, March 2, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, March 3.
- Vote center services will be available to all qualified Orange County voters.
- The University will provide free parking in select spaces to accommodate community voters traveling to campus to use the center.
- The center will offer secure drop-off for mail-in ballots, replacement ballots, in-person voting assistance and voter registration, including same-day registration.
- Out-of-county ballots dropped off at the center will be forwarded to the correct election officials. However, no out-of-county ballots can be provided at an Orange County vote center.
To learn more about the vote centers throughout the county, visit www.ocvote.com.