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Riverside County Puts Ballot on Wheels

October 19, 2005|Susannah Rosenblatt | Times Staff Writer

Just in time for next month's statewide election, Riverside County's new votemobile hits the streets this week.

After two months of preparation, the specially outfitted 34-foot mobile home, which houses up to eight electronic voting stations, is nearly ready to roll to the far corners of the county.

County officials believe the $173,000 votemobile is one of only a few in the state. Orange County has used a similar mobile site.

"I wanted to take early voting out to the rural areas who have not had the opportunity to vote early before," said county Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore.

Riverside County presents special challenges for voters and voting officials, with 7,200 square miles stretching from subdivisions across mountains and deserts all the way to the Colorado River, on the Arizona border.

For residents of isolated Blythe, the closest polling place for early voting has been a mall in Palm Desert, more than 100 miles away, Dunmore said.

Some of the more remote communities in the New Jersey-sized county have mail-only balloting, Dunmore said, so the mobile voting unit offers a chance to cast an electronic ballot.

The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election is Monday. Voters can register at www.ss.ca.gov or by calling (800) 345-VOTE.

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