Fullerton locals headed home from school or work took a detour and lined up to cast their vote in person and in the drive-thru at the Fullerton Public Library on Election Day.
Voters and poll workers wore face masks and enforced social distancing as they only allowed a few voters to the voting machines at a time — all spread apart.
Over one million vote-by-mail ballots were cast ahead of Tuesday in Orange County, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters. As a result, local in-person voters only waited up to 20 minutes.
Most of the waiting times at the voting centers in Fullerton were less than 10 minutes, however, the library and the Gilbert Community Center averaged the longest wait times, each at over 20 minutes.
With 15 voting centers and seven ballot drop-box locations within three miles of Cal State Fullerton, locals expressed that the public library location was convenient for them as many lived close by.
“I’m only 30, so I’ve only had a few elections, and all of those, pre-COVID, it would take a long time and it would just be like an endless amount of people, so it would be like probably like a good hour you’d be there, but this was like two seconds,” said RC Apodaca, Fullerton resident and student at Fullerton College.
Frank Miranda, who lives only a block away from the public library polling center, said he was proud that he was able to vote at a location so close to him. He added that because it was so close and believed there were more places to vote this election, there was no excuse not to.
“I’m very lucky that (the voting center) is down here. I’m glad that I got to walk here and to be a part of it and drop my vote off,” Miranda said.
Although the current political climate is contentious, Miranda added that voting is a unifying action for everyone.
Javier Franco of Anaheim, dressed in his work uniform, was on his way home from work in Santa Fe Springs and dropped off his ballot at the library, noting that it was one of the more convenient places to go to.
He said that voting is important, as the citizens can show the politicians who were elected how they feel about policies.
“I feel like a lot of politicians, at the end of the day, are not offering anybody and they think that just because you’re either a Democrat or Republican, you’re automatically given that vote because of that,” Franco said.
Registered voters totaled over 76,000 residents in Fullerton, with over 40% registered as Democrats and over 31% as Republicans, according to data from the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
Franco said that even though voters may be registered under a certain party, that doesn’t mean they should ignore what the opposing party may offer its constituents.
“Let’s all put in our part. Let’s at least say that we tried, we did all we could, it’s better to do that than to say, ‘Well, I didn’t vote, so it doesn’t matter anyways,’” Miranda said.