Category Archives: early voting

Early Voting Center to Open on Monday for San Bruno Fire Victims

As many county departments and local agencies have responded to the needs of the San Bruno fire victims, so, too, has the Elections Division. Beginning Monday, Oct. 25, we will open an Early Voting Center at San Bruno City Hall in coordination with the San Bruno City Clerk, the Honorable Carol Bonner.  This voting center will be open through Friday, Oct. 29 to better serve local voters displaced by the recent fire.

For the past six weeks we have worked closely with the San Bruno City Clerk and her staff to make this early voting center possible. We’ve met to coordinate the logistics of the voting machine set-up, established a secure remote access to information required to issue electronic ballots before Election Day and trained City Clerk Bonner and her Deputy, Vicky Hasha, how to manage an early voting center. Everything will be ready for voters on Monday morning.

Next week, voters in the fire damaged area can visit San Bruno City Hall at 567 El Camino Real to vote just as they would on Election Day or to obtain a paper ballot which they can mail in or drop off at the polls on Election Day.

We hope that this special early voting center will serve useful to those displaced by the fire as well as those within the community who continue to respond with assistance in the aftermath. We want to make sure that the displaced San Bruno residents have no trouble exercising their right to vote.


It’s Election Day!

The polls just opened at 7 a.m.  and if you haven’t already done so, make sure and vote today.  Stop by and make your poll worker’s day. They’ve been hard at work since 6 a.m. and will be there until about 9:30 p.m. tonight.

The polls will be open until 8 p.m. so you have plenty of time, but why wait?  Do yourself a favor – double check the location of your polling place before you go vote – every election there are a few that change locations. Use the “Find My Polling Place link” on the homepage of – it’s on the left side– scroll down to the Voter Tool Kit and click the link and fill in the 3 required bits of information about yourself.  It will present the name and location of your precinct. Double-checking will save you time and aggravation–both good things to avoid.

Yesterday’s statistics showed that the turnout of San Mateo County Vote by Mail voters (so far) had reached 14.43%.  Just got new information…the percentage has edged up to 16.64 percent with addition of the morning mail. Even more reason to make sure and vote today…with the record-breaking LOW turnout that’s expected, it may seem like you’re vote represents not only you, but the vote of your neighbor, friend and co-worker that didn’t bother to vote.  It really does matter.

Tonight, you can find all the results online here at Look for the Results Link at the top of the homepage.

The first returns will be reported at 8:05 p.m. and will represent those ballots cast by the Vote by Mail voters who returned them to our office prior to Election Day.  Ballots from this group that are received today or dropped off at the polls will be counted during the Canvass that technically (under law) begins as soon as the polls close.  We won’t start counting these ballots until the day after. Remember, we still have to signature verify before we can add these votes to the vote totals.

The 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. returns represent votes counted from  the Vote by Mail precinct voters and the Early Voters (those who came in person and voted in one of our offices in the 29 days prior to the election).

At 9:30 p.m. we’ll post live returns from ballots cast by precinct voters and continue to issue these every half-hour until all the precinct votes are counted.

Join us at the Rotunda at 555 County Center in Redwood City. between 7:30 p.m.  and 10:30 p.m. We’ll be issuing the returns, visiting with voters and others interested in this election and serving light refreshments. All are welcome!

The State and Local Budget Woes Affecting the Delivery of Democracy

Just yesterday, the Sacramento Bee ran and article quoting Jill LaVine, the Sacramento County registrar of voters, whose department is proposing to lay off 10 of its 38 employees.

Imagine - thousands and thousands of vote by mail voters swinging by to pick up their ballots!

Imagine - thousands and thousands of vote by mail voters swinging by to pick up their ballots!

While the cuts, as proposed, would not affect the May 19 Statewide Special Election—she noted that they will affect the Gubernatorial Primary in 2010. In summary, there will be no money to publish the Sample Ballots & Official Voter Information Pamphlets, no money to mail out the Vote by Mail ballots – you’d have to pick up your own from the Elections Office (so much for the convenience factor), no money to provide Spanish translations of election materials (this would be illegal in San Mateo County), and no money to conduct voter outreach programs.

She predicts there would be fewer polling places, longer lines, delayed returns and other related problems.  She’s probably right.

I don’t know about Sacramento County’s obligations under the federal Voting Rights Act with regard to language accessibility. What I do know is that compliance with this law is monitored by the Department of Justice. San Mateo County was advised in 2001 after the 2000 Census was completed that our election materials needed to be provided in English, Spanish and Chinese.  The language accessibility question is determined for each county after the census is completed.

In La Vine’s own words, “I can see lawsuits. I can see disenfranchisement of voters. With the numbers (budget cuts) they’ve given us, it has to be that bad.”

Sacramento County is not in a unique position as counties in California go. It will be interesting to watch and see how different counties conduct elections in this difficult budget environment.

San Mateo County has a permanent staff of 11; one position will be cut during the next fiscal year. Our office will have to hire temporary, extra help staff and make other cuts as necessary to make ends meet.

Steve Weir, registrar for Contra Costa County, said that in his 20 years as registrar, he’s seen the average cost per voter rise from $1.50 to $7.50. Some of that is cost of living, but much of that comes from complying with state and federal laws and administrative requirements issued by the secretary of state’s office.

Now that budgets are readying for the adoption process in June, we’ll begin to see the magnitude of the cuts as they affect voters and the administration of democracy.

It’s Finally Nov. 4!

The polls open at 7 a.m. — Come on down! Make sure that you’re prepared, and get ready for one crazy day!

Polling places are open till 8 p.m., but they will cut the line off right at the stroke of eight.  Anyone already in line will be able to vote, but any person that arrives after the line is closed will not — even if the line is out the door.

And before you head out, verify your polling place!  Visit and click on the link for “Where is My Polling Place?”

We don’t have pictures just yet, but once the polling places start buzzin’, we’ll start posting photos of our County’s polling places throughout the day.  In the meantime, here are a few pics from this past weekend’s early voting centers to get you started.

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Avoid the Storm – Vote Now!

The Elections Offices have been pretty crowded over the past few weeks with people lining up the door to vote early.  If you’ve been reading our Twitter, you know we have hundreds of people at each location every day.

But the numbers showing up at our offices are nothing compared to the crowds that will show up on Tuesday.  A storm is coming folks, and the only way to get around it is to take advantage of early voting!

We’re open until 5 p.m. today, we’ll reopen the doors 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. tomorrow for voters to cast their ballot early, and we’ll be here again on Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When Tuesday finally arrives, polling places around the County will open at 7 a.m.  If you haven’t voted by then, make sure to get to the polls before 8 p.m. We can’t keep the polls open for voters who arrive after 8 p.m. on Election Night, so be there early!

To find your polling place information, visit the Voter Toolkit on

The Elections Offices are located at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo and 555 County Center in Redwood City.

Anatomy of Election ’08

What are you doing on Election Night?  Take a journey through Elections with Anatomy of Election ’08!

Co-sponsored by the San Mateo County Elections Office, PenTV, and Comcast, Channel 26 is broadcasting a first-of-its-kind look at what it takes to conduct an election.

Mark Simon and Bob Marks of PenTV will be talking with candidates, elected officials, and members of the community while Kevin Mullin of KM2 Communications takes you behind-the scenes to look at the different functions of the Elections Office.

You’ll be able to see us process Vote by Mail ballots, collect ballots as they come in from the polls on Election Night, and get results fresh off the presses as the are released at 8:05 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and every half hour thereafter till we close up for the night at midnight.

Check it out!  Channel 26 within San Mateo County from 7 p.m. – midnight on Election Night.  If you don’t get PenTV, check out the live stream on

Why Wait? Vote Now!

Why haven’t you voted yet?  Don’t wait till Tuesday to cast your ballot!

If you haven’t been reading our blog, maybe you just don’t know that you can already vote by coming into either of San Mateo County’s elections office locations (40 Tower Road in San Mateo and 555 County Center in Redwood City) .  We’re open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily just waiting for voters to come in and cast their ballot on our eSlate voting machines.  And any voter can vote here, as long as the voter lives in San Mateo County.

For voters who just haven’t transitioned to voting on the eSlate yet, we do have paper ballots available as well.

And guess what…if you can’t come in during business hours (perhaps because you’re busy with your own business hours), come in on Saturday!

Both locations will be open 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday to accommodate voters and assist voters with questions and concerns regarding elections.

So, again, why wait?  Vote today!