Office Buzzing with Activity

The “brrng brrng!” and “ding ding!” of phone calls and emails fill our office, which has been silenced into a quiet buzz in anticipation of the upcoming November Presidential Election.

Right now, some important items on our agenda include 1) scheduling, 2) candidate filing, 3) voter registration, and 4) Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet preparation.

Scheduling
Every part of the of the Elections process follows a strict calendar. A combination of codes and ordinances, such as the Elections Code, Government Code, and Municipal Codes, mandate specific deadlines throughout the cycle. For example, Elections Code § 9094(c) says that the last day that the County Elections Office may mail ballot pamphlets is October 25, 2008 (or as we say it, E minus 10). An Elections Calendar, found on our website, details the calendar used in our planning process.

Because of these requirements, planning the election from start to finish requires careful consideration of all required code sections, and combining the requirements to layout a process map for the Elections team.

Candidate Filing
July 14 marked the start date for eligible candidates to obtain and file required nomination documents and submit candidate statements and payment. Until August 8, or E minus 88, anyone who wishes to run for any of the scheduled offices (and is eligible) may contact Lupe Sanchez, Candidate Filing Officer, for information about how to qualify and submit the necessary documents.  A roster of available offices is available on the Shape the Future, as well as a Candidate Roster that lists the candidates who have already filed nomination documents.  We have 16 filed candidates at this time, but with 48 seats scheduled to be on the ballot, we expect an influx soon.

Voter Registration
Voter registration cards have been flying through the door at an average rate of about 300 cards a day, and things haven’t even really started heating up yet!  Our staff checks each registration request to verify that the potential voter is eligible.  As a reminder, to be eligible to vote you must:

· be a U.S. citizen,
· be a San Mateo County resident,
· be at least 18 years old on Election Day,
· not be in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony, and
· not be judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote.

If you’re already registered to vote, remember that you must complete a new voter registration form if you changed your name, moved or have affiliated with a different political party. Voters who have been on the county’s registration roster who move or change their names after October 20 may still vote at polls with a provisional ballot.

Can’t remember if you’re registered to vote or what party you’re affiliated with? No sweat. Check your registration status anytime on our Web site.

Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet
This booklet is already well underway, with the covers already being reviewed for final approval. Content is still being developed, but the five elections that we’ve already created Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlets for during this past year has helped us to craft content efficiently.

Kicking off this process was a “meeting of the minds” to review the best practices of the past elections. By taking a look at what worked, and what didn’t, we were able to set up a tight but effective calendar.

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