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Drive-Through Voting? Only in Sonoma County

A steady stream of motorists used the drive-through option to drop off ballots Tuesday.

Internet. Polling place. Drive-through window?

Hundreds of Sonoma County voters dropped off their ballots Tuesday at the Registrar of Voters office in Santa Rosa without ever getting out of their car, thanks to a drive-through window the agency has made available.

"It's the only one in the state," said Registrar of Voters Janice Atkinson.

Actually, the drive through counter is open all year for any Registrar of Voters services, as needed. At those times, motorists press a button and a staff person comes to the window.

The idea was Atkinson's brainchild.

"It was installed when we moved into this building (on Fiscal Drive) 22 years ago," she said. "We used to be in the Hall of Justice building (on Administration Drive nearby) and we had an internal office. It was so hard for some people to park and get in there, that I said, 'I want a drive-through window.' And people love it. A lot of people use it."

Along with the drive-through voters today, others walked into the Registrar's office to get last-minute issues solved.

Some are new citizens voting for the first time.

"There was a citizenship ceremony in the East Bay recently," Atkinson said. "Those people are allowed to come in and vote today."

Other voters are keeping the phone bank busy.

"The phones have gone crazy all day," Atkinson said. "Everyone has been waking up and thinking, 'Gee, where do I vote today?'"

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