The dust is barely settling from the April 4 Special Congressional Open Primary Election and yet the deadline to register to vote for the May 6 Portola Valley Elementary School District All-Mail Election already looms near.
The Portola Valley Elementary School District Election is being conducted to fill the vacant seat on the governing board. The certified list of candidates appearing on the May 6 ballot can be found on the San Mateo County Elections website in the box dedicated to the May 6 Portola Valley Elementary School District Election.
When we said this was going to be a busy election year, we weren’t kidding! Early voting began on April 7, one day before the April 8 Special Congressional Open Primary Election. But at least this election is an all-mail election, which will protect the Portola Valley Elementary School District from the ginormous bill like the one associated with the April 8 election with which San Mateo County got stuck.
How ginormous, you ask?
Only 17,595 voters in San Mateo County’s portion of the 12th Congressional District bothered to vote at the polls at a cost of $26.70 per voter. With a total turnout of 25.9 percent, at least we can take a little comfort in the fact that the other 73 percent of voters who turned in a ballot chose to vote by mail. That decision saved about $15.10 per voter.
What accounts for the difference in cost? The precinct operations required the recruitment, training and placement of more than 1,000 poll workers, 32 field technicians and 32 ride along coordinators to provide technical assistance in the field, 59 poll opening/closing technicians, and the delivery and retrieval of 2,128 pieces of equipment to 164 polling locations to provide 17,595 voters in 317 precincts their right to vote on Election Day in San Mateo County.
Now, that’s not to say that we didn’t try to save some money. With the support of our county Board of Supervisors, we did make a bid to make the April 8 Special Congressional Open Primary an all-mail election. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough political backing to see the bid through. As the San Mateo Daily News said, “Mail-only special election idea dies: Political support lacking for the cost-saving move to fill Lantos’ empty seat.”
But enough lamenting on money spent – let’s focus instead on how voters in the Portola Valley Elementary School District’s All-Mail Election will save time and help save the district a whole bunch of money by sending in their ballots by mail.
“Voting by mail simplifies a voter’s life,” said Warren Slocum, San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer. “Voters can decide when and where they want to vote. They can vote at work, at the kitchen table, or with a cup of coffee on Saturday morning!”
“Not only is it good for voters, it’s good for the Elections Office and the sponsoring jurisdiction. Election costs are less, turnout is higher, and simplifying the process saves a lot of time. Voters in this election will have 29 days to decide and vote and can return their ballot anytime in this period,” explained Slocum. “What could be more flexible?”