County installs 16 ballot drop boxes throughout Long Beach for November election

County election officials have installed 16 Vote-by-Mail ballot drop boxes throughout Long Beach in preparation for the Nov. 3 general election, including at libraries and public facilities.

The Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office had been planning on placing these drop boxes throughout the city since last year, said Long Beach City Clerk Monique De La Garza, but with so many changes to the election process—including shifting oversight from the city to the county, switching from polling places to vote centers and changing the primaries from June to March—the city didn’t have the opportunity to work with county officials to install them during the March primary election.

De La Garza called the installation of the drop-off boxes great timing. “I think Long Beach is a really strong Vote-By-Mail city and it made sense to have these boxes,” she told the Post earlier in the week.

The drop boxes are located at:
  • Bixby Park Community Center, 130 Cherry Ave.
  • Bret Harte Neighborhood Library, 1595 W. Willow St.
  • Burnett Neighborhood Library, 560 E. Hill St.
  • Dana Neighborhood Library, 3680 Atlantic Ave.
  • El Dorado Park West Community Center, 2800 N. Studebaker Rd.
  • Freeman Community Center, 1205 Freeman Ave.
  • Heartwell Park Community Center, 5801 Parkcrest St.
  • Houghton Park Community Center, 6301 Myrtle Ave.
  • Long Beach City Hall, 411 W. Ocean Blvd.
  • Long Beach Senior Center, 1150 E. 4th St.
  • Marina Vista Park, 5355 E. Eliot St.
  • Mark Twain Neighborhood Library, 1401 E. Anaheim St.
  • Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, 5870 Atlantic Ave.
  • Ramona Park, 3301 E. 65th St.
  • Scherer Park, 4600 Long Beach Blvd.
  • Veterans Park, 101 E. 28th St.

The county later added these additional ballot box locations:

  • Bixby Park Community Center, 130 Cherry Ave.
  • The Carpenter Center at Cal State Long Beach, 6200 East Atherton St.
  • Signal Hill Public Library, 1800 East Hill St.
  • Willow blue line station, 2750 West American Ave.

All 16 drop boxes were installed last week and will be open 24 hours per day, seven days a week starting on Oct. 5 when Vote-by-Mail ballots begin to be mailed out to registered voters. They will remain open until 8 p.m. on Election Day on Nov. 3.

Similar to mailing ballots, these ballot boxes do not require postage. Non-Long Beach residents will be able to drop off their VBM ballots in any of these locations as well.

At media briefing Thursday, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia encouraged constituents to vote by mail, calling it a safe and secure process.

Garcia also announced a partnership with Cal State Long Beach in the works where the campus would serve as a drive-thru VBM ballot drop off location the weekend before the election. Details will be forthcoming.

During an earlier press conference this week, Garcia also dismissed national rhetoric calling into question the ability of the U.S. Postal Service to mail ballots to every registered voter as the Trump administration announced operational changes recently (which it later reversed) that would potentially slow mail service.

“We want to encourage folks this upcoming election to cast ballots and to vote by mail because everyone will be receiving a ballot,” Garcia said.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, county officials voted in April to send Vote-by-Mail ballots to every registered voter for the November election. This also means that there will be fewer vote centers available this time around.

De La Garza said there are at least three confirmed vote centers that are big enough to allow for social distancing in Long Beach for November, though it’s unclear at this point if the county will open any more up. They include the social halls at Cesar E. Chavez Park in Downtown, MacArthur Park in Central Long Beach and Pan American Park in East Long Beach.

The vote centers will be open for at least 10 days before Election Day, she said.

Last year, the city hosted 34 vote centers.

Pop-up centers, known as flex centers that are open between one to four days, will also be open closer to the election, De La Garza noted. These allow access to those experiencing homelessness, with a disability and older adults.

De La Garza said her office plans on doing extensive education and outreach efforts, including connecting with hard-to-reach communities through advertising in utility bills, billboards, newspapers, social media and with the help of community based organizations.

“We’re trying to figure out how to be effective in getting the word out,” De La Garza said.

Notable election dates:
  • Sample ballots will be mailed out between Sept. 24 and Oct. 13
  • Vote-by-Mail ballots will be mailed out starting Oct. 5
  • The deadline to register to vote with a mail-in ballot is Monday, Oct. 19. To check your voter registration status, click here.
  • Early voting period runs from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2
  • Election Day is Nov. 3

Editor’s note: We’ve updated this article and map to add additional ballot box locations. 

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.