Bay Area Poll Workers Bracing for Big Turnout

Overwhelming numbers expected across Bay Area

Poll workers throughout the Bay Area are bracing for what's expected to be an overwhelming turnout to vote Tuesday.

Besides the presidential race and statewide initiatives, Bay Area voters are considering several local measures.

In San Francisco, voters will decide on Proposition K, which calls for the decriminalization of prostitution.

In Oakland, voters will cast their ballots on a measure that would raise property taxes to pay for 105 more police officers and 75 police technicians.

And in Santa Clara County, voters will decide on a fractional increase in the sales tax to fund a BART extension that would add service to Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara.

Voting-by-mail ballots streamed into elections offices around the  Bay Area Monday, and early voters continued to show up in person to vote  early in record numbers.

Elaine Ginnold, the Registrar of Voters for Marin County said the  lines in her office have been unprecedented.

"The lines have been very, very long," she said Monday. "We've had  a line on Saturday, on Sunday, and all day today."

Ginnold said that more than 96,000 voters registered to vote by  mail, and that by noon Monday, nearly 65,000 of those had been received.

As for counting all those paper ballots, Marin County will be  processing them with added temporary staff members and optical scanning  machines that are used by most counties in California.

"We're ready," Ginnold said.

Santa Clara County elections spokeswoman Elma Rosas said that most  voters in the county now vote by mail.

"Out of 778,821 registered voters, we have issued 556,000  vote-by-mail ballots," Rosas said. "That's 71 percent."

Rosas said the election's office in Santa Clara County has already  received 59 percent of those ballots back, or about 326,000.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald also noticed  higher numbers of early voters voting by mail as well as in person at the  elections office.

"We continue to have a tremendous number of people voting in our  office, virtually double what we expected," he said.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein put out a plea to the television networks to show restraint in making predictions on the Presidential Election before polls close on the West Coast.

"Today’s morning papers carried stories indicating that the television networks may release their predictions of the Presidential Election outcome before polls close on the West Coast. This would be a disservice to the tens of millions of voters in the West, and I strongly urge the networks to delay any precipitous announcements until voters have had their full opportunity to vote. 

It’s critical that all California voters have a say in all of these contests, including the ballot measures and contests for down-ballot offices. I strongly urge California voters to cast ballots today, regardless of any news on the Presidential Election that may come out before the polls close," Feinstein said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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