Category Archives: Shape the Future

Celebrating 20 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Today, the Commission on Disabilities hosted a very special 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration at the County Government Plaza in

Redwood City with organizations, demonstrations, food, lawmakers, news media, friends and fun.

This prospective new voter gives the eSlate a "road test' as he votes the Famous Names Ballot.

San Mateo County Elections Office was there with our accessible voting equipment, voter registration forms, vote-by-mail forms, be a poll-worker forms, our grins and some helpful giveaways. We were joined by a SamTrans, the Hearing Loss Association, Hearing Dogs, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Lions Club who sold barbeque and are famous for the work they do with the blind, and countless other organizations. The weather was beautiful, the mood festive, and the spirits were high. Every member of the Commission on Disabilities was there. We had a videographer on hand to capture some “B” roll for videos we’re working on. It was a fine day!

Here’s a little background. The ADA, signed by George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It was then and is today,  landmark legislation that is making a difference in the lives of Americans. It’s impact is akin to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal. Disability is defined by the ADA as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.”  It has changed our country for the better and made us a more inclusive place to live, to work, to play.  Today is a day to celebrate! Today is a day to be proud of the way our country reinvents itself to improve the lives of all citizens.


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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Review period ends 09/04

September 4 marks the end of the review period for rebuttals to arguments in favor of and against measures on the November 3 ballot.

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Final Documents due for November Election

filing2Five p.m. today marks the deadline for rebuttal arguments and impartial analysis statements for measures included in the November 3, 2009 ballot.

Twenty measures were submitted to the Elections Office for inclusion in November’s election, all of which are City measures. There are no county measures, nor any school district measures, up for voter consideration.

Since all are city measures, the main contact for document filing is the City Clerk of each respective jurisdiction. City clerks are election officials for local elections, and can choose to use the County to execute the actual election. Once documents are filed at the City level, the City Clerk transmits the hard (paper) and soft (electronic) copies of the filing to the County’s filing officer, Lupe Sanchez.

Upon each submission deadline is a public review period. The public review period, which allows the general public to review the accuracy and validity of arguments, for the rebuttal arguments and impartial analysis statements begins at 5 p.m. today and ends September 3 at 5 p.m.

“Any review of the documents need to be conducted through the cities directly,” said Sanchez.

This means that all measure documents filed thus far can be viewed on each city’s website as appropriate. A full roster of measures can be viewed on the County Elections website at The cities with measures on the ballot are:

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!

Excitement at the Elections Office!

With three (three!) elections coming up within weeks of each other, the Elections Office is charging full steam ahead with various projects including Election Officer recruitment, ballot production, voter registration, and supply inventory.

While the May 5 Special School District Election is an all-mail ballot, plenty still needs to be done! Early voting for the May 5 election begins on April 6, and before that day arrives, we need to have our official ballots and Voter Information Pamphlets printed and mailed, and conduct logic & accuracy tests on BallotNow machines (the machines that tabulate the ballots).

The May 19 Consolidated Special Statewide Election and the June 2 Special School District Election are both elections that will have polling places.  This means that we need to recruit Election Officers and field personnel, conduct training classes, stock up on supplies, and confirm polling place locations in addition to the normal voter registration updates, ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet production, and eSlate and Ballot Now machine testing.

Extra help staff has already arrived to help us with these efforts.  In the past week, over 12,000 voter registration edit requests have been processed and the Election Officer unit phones have been ringing off the hook. By the way, we are recruiting student poll workers in addition to our regular Election Officers!  If you’re interested, contact (650) 286-2810!

Supplies have been inventoried and the organization of specific polling place supplies is beginning now.

Logic & accuracy testing of the eSlate voting machines and BallotNow machines begins on March 16 and matrices to organize testing have been created.

The election season is definitely in full swing! We’ll be posting pics soon so that you can have a sneak peek at the Elections Office!