Category Archives: Poll workers

Legislative Update

Two terrific new laws and a bill awaiting the fate of the Governor’s pen will affect election officers, voters and the way we conduct elections in California. And in our humble opinion–for the better.

Signed into LAW. AB 1342 (Simitian) Will allow registrars to redraw the precinct boundary lines subtracting out the vote by mail voters from the total universe of 1000 voters served by a single precinct. Today, nearly half of our voters vote by mail. In low turnout elections, this makes an already long day (15 hours) into an incredibly long and slow day. Thank you, Senator Simitian! This law will save money and create more vibrant, active polling places on Election Day which in turn will make serving at the polls an interesting day! Our election officers deserve that.

Signed into LAW. AB 1717 (deLeon) Assemblyman deLeon‘s legislation will allow voters to “opt out” of receiving a paper copy of the Sample Ballot & Official Voter Pamphlet and “opt in” to receiving it electronically, instead. This law will offer people a choice and let those who prefer to read, save and retrieve their information online to do so. It will also help reduce our carbon footprint, save resources, and money. And, although it was recently blogged about, it was worth mentioning again as we think this is a really good step forward.

UNDER CONSIDERATION by the Governor. AB 2616 (Hill) If signed into law, Assemblyman Hill‘s bill will make it possible for vote by mail voters to confirm their votes were counted by checking the county web site or calling the Elections Office. If a ballot isn’t counted, the voter will be told why. (signature doesn’t match, ballot arrives late, etc.) I would note that it is our current practice (and has been for a long time) to contact a vote by mail voter prior to the election (if time allows) when a signature doesn’t match the voter registration card we have on file. We give the voter a chance to come into the office and resign to validate their signature. If their signature has completely changed, we ask them to reregister in order to update their signature. Signatures can change for a number of reasons – like a broken wrist, a stroke or when people are in a big hurry.

This is a good bill – it won’t cost much as we already provide this service for provisional voters.


A New Voter Registration System for San Mateo County

The County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of a new Voter Registration System on November 10, which will make way to much more efficient and cost-effective registration and election management processes.

The new system, DFM’s Elections Information Management System (EIMS), supports automated data entry using intelligent character recognition and will nearly eliminate the fully manual data entry process used today.

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New process helps make Election Day a success

We’re now in the midst of the Official Canvass, a process that takes place immediately following an election. This process is our time to update voting history in the voter registration database and audit and certify the election results, and must be complete within 28 calendar days.

Until the official results are published in our Statement of the Vote, semi-official results will be regularly posted on our website at

During the Canvass, we also take an opportunity to reflect on Election Day and the days leading up to it. Narda Barrientos, Elections Supervisor, once said, “The Elections Office is all about change. We’ve been in a constant state of change, and we will continue to change as long as it makes our processes stronger.”

The biggest change this election? We did away with Receiving Stations. Was it successful? As Mattel’s Magic 8 Ball would say, “all signs point to yes.”

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Election Day morning

November 3 is upon us, and polls open at 7 a.m. for voters who wish to cast a ballot in favor of or against measures and/or candidates in the Consolidated Municipal, School & Special District Election.

No county measures exist on the ballot, meaning not all cities are participating in the election. To find out whether or not you are able to vote in this election and to find your polling place, visit

What’s happening right now? Almost the entire staff is already in and at work, supporting Election Officers as they prepare for the opening of the polls. The Election Day Call Center, a phone bank that we set up specifically for Election Officers to call throughout the day if support is needed, is staffed with a team of people ready to assist.

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The Day Before

It’s the day before the November 3 election, and final preparations are underway.

Supplies are being distributed to Field Techs, back up Election Officers are being secured for the polls, and final training for the Election Day call center was conducted. Election Materials Courier routes are finalized, and assignments have been distributed to all participants in the process.

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It’s up to the Governor now…

We’ve been supporting and tracking proposed legislation in this year’s session that,  if passed,  would make important contributions to the elections world.  Two Governor Schwarzeneggerbills were “enrolled” this week, meaning a majority of lawmakers in both houses of the State Legislature approved these bills. The only thing standing between an approved bill and law is Governor Schwarzenegger. We hope he supports and signs these two bills into law. 

AB 30 (Price) Allow registrars to pre-register 16-year olds to vote. Last year, we had 1,000 student poll workers sign up in San Mateo County. These students would definitely pre-register to vote, take this civic engagement step in school, and receive their voter information at home until they establish a permanent home of their own—after college, the military, or working. This bill could help increase the number of younger voters who participate in elections. Let’s give it a try!

AB 1228 (Yamada) Authorizes the participation of Yolo and Santa Clara Counties in a pilot program through December 31, 2016, that would allow them to fill a vacancy in a state office, the Legislature, or Congress in an ALL MAIL election if specified conditions are satisfied (it would not apply in statewide primary or general elections or special elections).

If approved, it will be an interesting test of voter participation in all mail elections as Yolo County is rural and more homogenous while Santa Clara County is diverse–in language, culture, education and socio-economic status. We wholeheartedly support this pilot.

And there was an honorable mention in this year’s list of bills that did not succeed.

AB 1121 (Davis), would have authorized a limited number of pilot jurisdictions to test the viability of rank choice voting, but it did not get through the Senate. We have supported this bill and appreciated the capable leadership of Rob Dickinson , a local Redwood City resident.  The bill failed due to opposition by the California Association of Clerks and Elected Officials (CACEO) who were concerned about adding cost and complexity to the election process at a time when registrars lack the resources (staff) and budget to take on new items. While we have been unwavering supporters of this bill, we understand that the budget crisis has all California registrars just trying to figure out how to deliver existing, mandated services.

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!