By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Voters had a pleasant surprise and some relief at voting centers Saturday. In-person voting started for most California counties on Halloween weekend.

While all voters got a ballot in the mail to encourage remote voting during the pandemic, that may have lead to small lines on the last weekend before election day.

That could be a good thing considering casting your ballot is a process this year. At Modoc Hall at Sacramento State University, you follow the sign to cast your votes and along the way you’ll find masks, hand sanitizer and warnings to stay six feet apart.

“We want to make sure that people have a safe way of getting their vote out,” said Chio Saeyang

Saeyang is a student ambassador charged with keeping the voting center sanitized and safe for voters. It’s a voting center that’s traditionally had high voter turnout, but with many casting their ballots early the lines haven’t seemed long at voting centers across northern California.

“I like that because it’s not a lot of crowd right here so we can get in and out,” said Victor Roff.

Roff got in and out within minutes at a voting center in Lodi.  Starting this weekend, there are now 34 voter service centers open across San Joaquin county through election day.

I want to make sure my vote is counted and I do it in person so I don’t put it in the mail drop off because those things can get lost and I like to do it in person,” said Tony Todorovitch.

“Oh I’ve been waiting half a year for this moment,” said Quitman Alford.

It’s an election day many have anticipated. That’s why Saeyang is playing his part. Sac State’s “Hornets Vote. Hornets Count” campaign prompted more than 1,500 new student registrations.

If they missed the registration deadline, they can still register at the Vote Center and cast their ballot the same day.

“I was never big on voting when I was in high school but ever since I got more educated and more involved in the voting process I started learning about how much my voting really does matter,” said Saeyang.

County elections inspectors tell CBS13 the two key reminders they have for voters are to get their ballots in early to avoid long lines on election day and to sign their ballot before dropping it off.

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