Elections Office folk were part of an array of guests on hand today at Self-Help for the Elderly’s annual Citizenship Day at their San Mateo Senior Center in Central Park.
In between socializing and a nutritious lunch for about 50 of the center’s elderly – and primarily Chinese-American – clientele, the message was all about civic involvement, voter participation and demystifying elections.
“It is important for citizens to know that there’s a face to what we do,” said San Mateo County Elections Manager David Tom. “That we are communicating to help the community better understand the what’s and why’s of elections.”
To that end, Tom, at the behest of Self-Help’s matriarch Rosalyn Koo, explained to the crowd what to expect election-wise in the next year. To many – with a Presidential Primary in February, Statewide Direct Primary in June and Presidential Election in November 2008 – it can be downright confusing. Add the Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election this November – making for a record four elections in 12 months – and it’s enough to make your head spin.
San Mateo Deputy Mayor Carole Groom and Councilman John Lee also joined in the festivities. Other Elections Office staffers were on hand to demonstrate eSlates, our electronic voting machines.
For many Self-Help clients whose English might be shaky, there were Mandarin and Cantonese translators on hand for the day. And there was plenty of reassurance that eSlates, paper ballots and all other official voter publications are available in Chinese.