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Move to revamp elections in Orange County faces GOP resistance

Supervisors in California's Orange County are set to reconsider a proposed sweeping overhaul of election procedures, including the elimination of precinct polling places in favor of voting centers.

Proponents say the switch, which could be implemented in time for the 2020 primaries, would save $29 million annually while making it more convenient to cast ballots in the third biggest (and most politically competitive) county in the most populous state. They also say it would speed the tabulation of results, which were delayed for so long last fall that the outcome of several close congressional races hung in the balance for more than a week.

But some Republicans have opposed the idea, already in place in Sacramento and four other California counties, saying the altered system could confuse voters and encourage voter fraud. So, when the GOP majority on the Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday it may reject the plan for the second time in three years.

The Orange County Register describes the proposed new system this way: "The county would replace its 1,200 precincts polls with 188 vote centers. It would open the facilities 10 days prior to elections to give locals more time to vote in person. All of the county's 1.6 million registered voters automatically would receive mail ballots. And the county would install nearly 100 military-grade secure drop boxes where people could deposit their ballots at any time up through Election Day."

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