Interest in the Rancho Mirage City Council election is palpable in the community and throughout the Coachella Valley.

Hundreds turned out for a recent candidate forum sponsored by the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce.

Voter registration is up from December, not by scores, but it is still up, which is a strong indication of interest. On Dec. 12, there were 9,886 registered voters in Rancho Mirage. As of March 5, there were 9,904, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

Political leaders from Palm Springs to Indio are involved in an unprecedented way, according to longtime Valley leaders.

Ultimately, the only ones who will have a say in who wins the three coveted seats on the five-member City Council are voters.

The election will be completed entirely by mail. So, how can voters be assured they will receive their ballot in a timely fashion — and ensure it will be counted? Uken Report turned to City Clerk Kristie Ramos with some questions.

Uken Report (UR): When will ballots be mailed out?

Kristie Ramos (KR): Ballots will be mailed to all registered Rancho Mirage voters on March 12, 2018, and will continue to be mailed out through March 31, 2018.

UR: How am I assured that a ballot will arrive in the mail on time for the election?

KR: Any registered voter who does not receive their ballot in the mail by Friday, March 16, 2018 should call the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office at (800) 773-8683 to request that a new ballot be mailed.  A voter may also obtain a ballot by visiting the Registrar’s Office at 2724 Gateway Drive, Riverside, CA  92507.

UR: How can I be assured that the ballot will not “get lost in the mail?”

KR: Again, any registered voter who does not receive their ballot in the mail by Friday, March 16, 2018 should call the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office at (800) 773-8683 to request that a new ballot be mailed.  A voter may also obtain a ballot by visiting the Registrar’s Office at 2724 Gateway Drive, Riverside, CA  92507.

UR: How am I assured that if I choose to hand in the ballot, that the person at City Hall is a sanctioned election judge and not some candidate’s assistant, brother-in-law or cat sitter?

KR: There is a ballot box located in the reception area at City Hall, to which only the Elections Official (me) and Registrar of Voters Office staff have a key. Voters may hand the signed ballot to the staff member at the reception desk and watch while it is placed in the ballot box.  Voters may also walk to the ballot box themselves and drop their signed ballot into the box. The Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office also has a ballot box, and voters are welcome to take their ballots there as well.

UR: How and when will ballots actually be counted and results known/released?

KR: The Registrar of Voters Office may begin processing ballots on March 27, 2018, and will release a preliminary count shortly after polls close on April 10, 2018 (polls close at 8pm). The official canvas of election returns will commence on April 12, 2018, and a certified statement of election results will be provided to the City no later than May 4, 2018.

In the April 2016 Rancho Mirage city election, there were 9,109 votes cast, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. In addition to electing members to the City Council, there were also four measures on the ballot. This time around, there is only the question of who will fill three seats on the City Council.

The last day to register to vote or transfer registration for the April 10, 2018 election is March 26, 2018.

If you would like your voice heard in the upcoming election, you may register online here right now. To register online you will need:

  • Your California driver license or California identification card number,
  • The last four digits of your social security number and
  • Your date of birth.

To register to vote or check voter registration status, please visit the Riverside County Registrar of Voters website at www.voteinfo.net or call (800) 773-8683.