Public Comments (32-38)
Received on Comment Cards at Public Hearing and Registration & Elections Division Responses

Post

(32) I’ve heard that the vote ctrs or drop-off ctrs. located at city hall & govt offices.

For immigrant communities who may be reluctant to go to such places, wouldn’t it be better to have ctrs in libraries & non-threatening locations
 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your comments on our draft Election Administration Plan. In past years, many of our county’s polling places have been located in government buildings, from libraries to city halls to a national guard facility. Our staff at the polls have always endeavored to make sure voters feel welcome and free to cast their ballot in privacy, regardless of whether their polling place was in a government facility, commercial building, or private residence.

Vote Center staff will only confirm a voter’s identity and eligibility when they arrive to cast their vote. Identification will only be required of first-time voters who registered online, and who do not have a signature on file. Vote Center staff will not question voters on other matters.

We hope that voters will feel comfortable casting their ballots in those Vote Centers hosted by government facilities. However, under the Voter’s Choice Act voters have a variety of options in casting their ballot, which they may do at any Vote Center or by mail.
 

(33) Vote by mail increases cost of campaigning candidates – reducing pool of potential leadership choice.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We do not have any information on costs to candidates for vote by mail vs. polling place elections.

Vote by mail makes fraud a greater possibility if someone in household fills out everyone’s ballots. Not safe & secure situation.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Though it is true that someone else in your household could fill out your ballot, the ballot is not accepted without the registered voter’s signature.

(34) Request: Bellhaven Branch Library, part of Menlo Park Library (3 or 10 day vote center). Request: Move EPA to a library (avoid police department).

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your suggestions. In Menlo Park, the Vote Centers will be at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center and the Onetta Harris Community Center. In East Palo, the Vote Centers will be at the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA and the Government Center.

(35) Recommend copy receipt of who/what I voted for as printed on machine – itemized for each office and measures.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Our current equipment does not allow us to provide you with a receipt showing who and what you voted for. You can see your selections before you finalize them.

(36) 1. Create a speaker bank to assist with outreach;

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are happy to offer training to have individuals and organizations assist with voter outreach.

2. Certificate training program for face-to-face voter registration and follow-up;

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are happy to offer training to have individuals and organizations assist with voter outreach.

3. Program for homeless registration and follow-up;

Registration & Elections Division Response:
County agencies providing assistance to the homeless are required to provide voter registration information.

4. Transportation to voting centers during the last weekend;

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The Registration & Elections Division will arrange for transportation to a Vote Center for disabled voters who cannot arrange for paratransit in advance.

5. Advisory Committee for outreach and follow-up

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your comment. We will not be implementing your suggestion at this time, but we will reconsider in the future.

(37) Suggestion – Incorporate “destructive testing” into your Quality Assurance TEST process/environment in order to ensure NO security vulnerabilities

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your suggestion. Our office is continuously looking for ways to improve our processes. We will pass your suggestion along to our Technology Team.

(38) Dear Mr. Church
The SMC Union Community Alliance submits the following comments, questions, and recommendations regarding the county’s Draft Election Administration Plan.

Vote by Mail Ballots

  • Comment: This section only describes how voters registered as of the date that ballots are mailed (29 days before the election) will receive ballots, not how or when the voters who register from day 29 to election day will receive their ballots.
  • Recommendation: The county should clarify how residents who register after ballots are mailed will receive their ballots. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added information to the Amended Draft EAP on receiving ballots after the first mailing 29 days before the election. Ballots will be mailed to voters who register by the close of registration (15 days before the election). A replacement ballot can be sent to registered voters up till one week prior to Election Day. To register at 14 days or less, a resident will come into a Vote Center to conditionally register and receive a provisional ballot.

Vote Center and Drop-off Locations

  • Recommendation: One of three vote centers, and one of the 24-hour drop-off locations fails to meet basic criteria for these sites. The Registration & Elections Division is far from transit and population centers, and away from low-income and language-minority communities. Find a more central location for this vote center / drop-off site. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are working with several variables on the placement of Vote Centers and Drop-boxes including availability for the timeframe and space. Though the Registration & Elections Division seems far from population centers, many voters find it easy to get to us on their way to or from work since we are practically at the intersection of Highways 280 and 92.

  • Question: These locations were chosen based on county’s 390,000 registered voters for June 2018. How does that distribution compare with total county population, or total population of adults 18 years of age and older?
  • Recommendation: Since one of the goals is to increase voter participation, vote centers and drop-off sites should be located based on total adult population, not registered voters.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The maps used to select Vote Center and Drop-box locations are in the Addenda. You will find a map of San Mateo population as well as one displaying areas with eligible residents who are not yet registered.

  • Question: Plan states centers will only open early land remain open till 8 pm on election day.  What are the voter center hours: 28 days out, 10 days out and 3 days out?
  • Recommendation: provide for additional early morning and early evening hours for vote centers and drop-off sites.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added the hours to the Amended Draft EAP: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. including two weekends.

  • Recommendation: Plan states the County will try to recruit Spanish and Chinese-speaking staff. County needs to make a commitment to providing bi-lingual staff in communities where high percentage of non-English speaking residents.
  • Recommendation: Use video translation service, as needed, to address the needs of non-English speaking voters. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The County would like to hire at least one English-Spanish and English-Chinese for each Vote Center. There is currently very high employment in the area, making it difficult to guarantee we will be able to hire seasonal staff with these languages skill. We have planned to use a telephone-based translation service, but we will look into the suggestion for video as well.

Drop-off boxes

  • Question: Do the drop-off box locations, primarily at city halls, meet the legal requirements “that Vote Centers and Ballot Drop- off locations be accessible to voters with disabilities, located near population centers, public transportation and near low-income and language minority communities.”

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Yes, the drop-boxes at City Halls does meet these requirements.

  • Question: How do these proposed locations compare to the previous locations of 200+ polling places?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
While every city has at least one Vote Center, considering the smaller number of Vote Centers as compared to polling places, not every neighborhood will have one.

  • Question: Why so few drop-off locations (1 per 15,000 voters as compared to ratio of 1 per 1,000 voters) for polling places?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The Legislature set the number. 

In addition to the drop-boxes, ballots can be returned in the included postage paid envelope at a post office or in one of the 622 mail collection boxes throughout the County.

  • Recommendation: provide for additional early morning or early evening hours for drop-off boxes. 
  • Recommendation: In addition to the 20 City Halls locations, provide as many as 20 more non-governmental locations in communities with historically low turnout, that are near population centers, public transportation and low-income and language-minority communities.

Voting Technology

  • Question: How will the public access the real-time voter registration system to see how has voted, in order to encourage people to return their ballots?
  • Recommendation: Without compromising the system’s security, voter registration groups, campaigns, and others should be given low or no-cost access to the voter registration rolls, including who has returned their ballots.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are considering a subscription service. Interested groups or individuals would sign up on our website and we would provide a username and password to obtain access to an FTP folder. Every day at 4:30 we will place a new report into that folder.

On Election Day, the report will be updated hourly.

VOTER EDUCATION AND OUTREACH PLAN:ADDRESSING DISPARITIES IN PARTICIPATION,

  • Recommendation: Most agencies listed in this section are governmental agencies. Develop and implement a plan to work with nonprofit service agencies in the county.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added more non-profits to the Community Partners list.

  • Recommendation: Develop and implement plan to deploy the mobile Voter Center to geographically remote areas where a fixed site is not feasible, and to sites where residents have limited mobility.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are making plans for a Roving Voting station to travel to geographically distant parts of the County that are not served by a fixed site Vote Center. 

Voters with disabilities have several options. You can find information in the Voter Education and Outreach Plan and on our website.

DIRECT VOTER CONTACTS

  • Question: What is the county policy regarding purging the rolls of infrequent voters?
  • Recommendation: Send one postcard to all county residents 18+ years.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We do not purge infrequent voters.

Thank you for your consideration of these comments and recommendations.

Sincerely yours,
Bradley