Residents in and around Silent Valley RV Park – a place of refuge during the deadly Esperanza Fire in Southern California – won’t have to trek down the mountain to vote today (Nov. 7), according to a report by NBC4 TV, Los Angeles.
Riverside County’s Registrar of Voters will establish a satellite polling place inside the park’s auditorium from between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with paper ballots, instead of touch-screen equipment.
Between 300 and 400 of the park’s residents were sheltered at the park by fire crews during the Esperanza Fire, which burned more than 40,000 acres, destroyed more than 30 homes and claimed the lives of five U.S. Forest Service firefighters.
The recreational park is situated near Highway 243, nearly 10 miles south of Banning.
Highway 243 has been closed to through traffic by Caltrans to allow for utility repairs and the replacement of 8,000 feet of guardrail damaged during the Esperanza Fire.
Caltrans is also working on “80 damaged drains, 372 roadside markers, 32 guide and regulatory signs and a call box,” according to a statement.
Kinzle said he couldn’t provide an estimate of how many people will be voting at the Silent Valley RV Park.
“It depends on how many of them decided not to vote early at other locations,” Kinzle said. “Even if it’s one (person), it’ll be worth it.”
Kinzle also confirmed that Riverside County poll workers will not turn any voter away who is standing in line at 8 p.m., a concern that was raised Monday by an official from one campaign.
“It’s critical that people know if they arrive by 8 p.m., they will have the right to cast a ballot,” said Gabriel Sanchez, spokesman for Steve Clute, who is seeking the Assembly seat now held by Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City.
Kinzle said poll workers will monitor any voting lines as closing time nears, ensuring that those who arrive in line before 8 p.m. are permitted to vote.