Early Voting Underway in Santa Clara County

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Ballots are now headed to South Bay voters and many are already back and being counted. 

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters says it is a hectic time, making sure ballots and election information gets to voters early and to reassure them the process is safe. 

The ballots first went out starting Monday and already workers at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters are processing returned ballots -- a far cry from previous elections.

“In the past we’ve had, on the first day, we had four people show up on the first day and we had 120 here,” said Evelyn Mendez, public and legislative affairs manager at Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

As of Thursday, 1,151 ballots have been put in drop boxes, 1, 364 have come in by mail and 753 by fax. 

Jennifer Rinehart of Palo Alto didn’t wait for her mail-in ballot, she came into the San Jose Registrar's office Thursday afternoon because she says she believes there could be election fraud, although there hasn't been definitive evidence of any issues so far. 

“Your vote may not be counted, maybe thrown away,” said Rinehart. “Maybe some people in office, one side or the other, That would try to dissuade the votes from going where they should by throwing them out.”

That was also a concern of Marsha Burlingame who posted a picture of ballot envelopes thrown out along a highway on-ramp in San Jose. She then sent the photo to the Registrar of Voters. 

The office determined they were extra, empty ballot envelopes left at polling places for those who need them.

Officials acknowledge someone might’ve been trying to generate more paranoia about election fraud, but say those tactics have backfired. 

“I feel that people are concerned,” said Mendez. “But it is also drawing people here to vote in person, which is what we have been encouraging.” 

The Registrar Of Voters says it doesn’t expect discarded mail-in ballots to be a problem, but just to make sure, they’re asking people to rip them up before throwing them away. 

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