Public Comments (92 – 94)
Received by Mail and Registration & Elections Division Responses


(92) Date:  January 17, 2018; 5:30pm-7:00pm;
Location:  2396 University Ave. East Palo Alto, CA. 94303
Host: Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto

We are writing on behalf of Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto a community education organization dedicated to increasing civic participation and promoting economic self-sustainability of the Latino immigrant population. Nuestra Casa works with Latino par-rents to build their knowledge, voice, and community power. We help families in East Pa-lo Alto and the mid-peninsula to achieve full participation in educational and civic life. In addition to our primary target population, we also serve individuals and families from communities of color in our geographic areas, men who are parents and caregivers, and other immigrant populations. We do not exclude individuals and families from these communities and see the positive impact their engagement with Nuestra Casa creates as an added benefit. Community workshops are a critical vehicle not only for our service delivery but for our community engagement. Our workshops are culturally relevant, accessible and tailored to the learning styles and engagement of participants. We are deeply committed to the quality and relevance of workshop programs, which are designed to engage and inform, rather than produce outcomes.

We hope to collaborate with the elections office in the future.  We held a town hall to discuss the EAP and our feedback included the following.


Suggestions and thoughts:

  • Plan seems to general and it needs more specificity, especially in the outreach area 
  • It is quite broad for example schools, but what type of schools. Middle Schools? High Schools?

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your thoughtful comments.  The Registration & Elections Division would be happy to work with you in your community. 

We have added additional details to the Voter Education & Outreach Plan. We will be doing outreach to high schools and colleges. We have sent letters to all school district superintendents, and they may be sharing with their PTAs for other grade levels.

  • For remote areas, there is a possibility of mobile voter centers. However, the language could be problematic because it is a “maybe” and not a for sure idea. 

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We expect to be able to implement a Roving Voting station for remote parts of the County without the population to justify a fixed Vote Center. The only reason it is not said with 100% certainty is because it is not something we have done before, and there may be an issue in its deployment that we’re not expecting.

  • Look at the places where people used to vote traditionally and put educational material or a big sign that can inform the community as to what the changes are what the new location/location options are going to be at least a month before the elections.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We cannot commit to putting signs or educational material at all locations a month in advance of the election with more than 300 polling places which are not under our authority.

  • There should be some education around the people that don’t know how to read and write and making sure that they know their options.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
One way we reach potential voters who may not read or write is through County agencies assisting low-income residents, those with disabilities and homeless. These agencies are required to provide voting information per the National Voter Registration Act.

  • The plan is not very specific, and it is quite general when it comes to the plan for underrepresented communities like youth and people of color.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added college newspapers to our media list. We have added outreach to several campus organizations and organizations with more people of color to the Voter Education and Outreach Plan. We have added additional ethnic festivals such as Holi, Persian New Year and Cinco de Mayo to our event list for outreach.

  • Locations where our community members collect information on what is going on in the community is churches and schools.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have received a great deal of interest from organizations such as yours to assist with getting information out to schools and churches. All voters will receive information mailed to their homes to inform them about the new voting model.

  • It has to be more outreach to community colleges, even a mobile voter center.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added college newspapers to our media list and outreach to several campus organizations. We also had informed the SMCCD Superintendent Galatolo of the new voting model. The community college classes end before Election Day.


These are locations our community members suggested that would be good locations to keep and or include.

  • There is no way that the 29-day Proposed Vote Center should include Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder in Redwood City. It is not in an ideal. Location and very far and not accessible. Insert A better location is Fair Oaks Community Center.
  • The location for the 10 days before in East Palo Alto City Hall is a great place but there is very limited parking.
  • A suggestion could be the Ravenswood Clinic
  • A time change would be ideal to 8am to 8pm.
  • Saturdays should be open later and close later. From 10:00am-9:00pm
  • We need to limit the use of San Mateo County Building for any voter center locations, we need to use community centers, churches, schools and other locations that people attend

Registration & Elections Division Response:
The Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder office is in County Center.  Many residents are familiar with County Center because they need to get a copy of their birth certificate, pay property tax, serve on a jury. There is a parking lot, Cal Train is nearby as our buses. 

The Fair Oaks Community Center will open as a Vote Center 3 days before the Election; it will be open through Election Day. (It will be open on the weekend before the election.). 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.    


This is an event that we noticed was not included in the upcoming community events.

  • 5 de Mayo: East Palo Alto Community Event.
  • Redwood City Events Calendar

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added Cinco de Mayo to the event list. We have reviewed the Redwood City events calendar.


Some suggested media partners for furthering the outreach effort are the following.

  • It would be a great idea if we can include social media like Facebook, Instagram and snapchat to reach various communities.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
In the Voter Education and Outreach Plan, we included social media in the overview, and we have added language as follows: “(such as Facebook and Twitter).”

  • San Mateo County houses the Facebook headquarters and they could potentially partner to spread the word.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We have added to the Voter Education and Outreach Plan that we will promote the SOS’s nonpartisan Democracy at Work program which encourages businesses to encourage greater civic participation.

  • Create a country wide campaign to attract voters including posters and flyers.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We will have posters and flyers. We will offer flyers and other materials for individuals and groups to be able to download in an online tool kit.

  • The use of text messages to educate and remind people about locations, and other events    

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We do not know whether we have mobile or landline phone numbers for voters. Since some phone plans charge users per message and since we did not inform voters that we may send a text message, we will not be adding this suggestion to the Voter Education and Outreach Plan.

Other comments our community members have:


  • Great changes but it will require a lot more outreach and educating the community will be key to this new transition.
  • There will be less places to vote, however it seems that the centers will be so much more equipped and ready to have people vote.

Sincerely, Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto

(93) Dear Mr. Church, I attended the Draft EAP Public Hearing on January 18, 2018. 

These are my written comments for the post 14-day comment period.

I appreciate all the preparation by your department to roll out a new program.  I have been an Elections Judge and Inspector over the past 15-years and I have always been impressed by the professionalism of the Election Department to run a complex operation with minimum staff that is manned with many volunteers. 

Additionally, I have run for office, been a campaign treasurer, and formed a recipient committee.  The Elections Office Staff always were professional, kind, helpful and prompt.

San Mateo County has a great opportunity to set the standards for all California counties to implement the Voters Choice Act that facilitates voter turnout, a positive voter experience, and confidence in the system by voters.   Attached are my comments.  The spreadsheet noted is provided in electronic format.

Very truly yours,

1. Situation.  The open election voting period is 29 days plus three days to receive ballots post marked on or before election day.  There will be up to 26-ballot drop off boxes and 39 vote centers.

2. Intent.  Insure a documented and transparent custody trail available to the public.

3. Recommendation:

a. That courier and pick up schedules be available to observers.
b. That observers can arrange to observe the counting of ballot when turned into Tower Road.


1. Situation.  The Voters Choice Act is a major change to our voting procedure.

2. Intent.  Increase voter awareness and turnout and determine voter habits to better serve the electorate in future elections.

3. Recommendation. 

c. Track ballots cast be tabulated daily and posted on 
d. Report the number of new registrations on and after 15 days prior to the election through election day and post on 
e. Attached is a suggested model to collect daily vote counts and cumulate.  It has the following sheets:

i. Voter Registration
ii. Total Cast (Summary of all votes cast by snail mail, vote centers and drop boxes.)
iii. Snail Mail Cast (Votes sent into Tower Road.)
iv. Drop Box Cast (Lists the 26 drop boxes, cumulates and sums the total.)
v. Vote Center Cast (Lists 41 vote centers, cumulates and sums totals.  Breaks out vote by machine, provisional, and VBM that are dropped off.)
vi. VBM Rejection Summary (Records the number of rejected VBM ballots received by snail mail at Tower Rd, drop boxes, and vote centers.)

f. The workbook is formatted for easy display and print out for review.  Formulas are believed to be accurate but have not been fully tested. 
g. Cells are color coded:

Tan Boarders
Lt Tan Boarders
Lt Gray Cell contains a formula
Lt Green Cell imports data from another cell
Lt Yellow Enter voter registration 15 days prior to election
Blank Enter data

1. Situation. This is the first time the Voter’s Choice Act is being implemented. 

2. Intent.  Make it easy for other counties to implement the Voter’s Choice Act.

3. Recommendation.  Publish a Post-Election Report to include lessons learned and the costs of the election.  The latter needs to be in a manner that most people can comprehend. 

1. Situation.  With many options to vote and a 29-day voting window, the opportunity to vote multiple times increases.
2. Intent.  Increase awareness to insure one person, one vote, in the jurisdiction they live.

3. Recommendation.

a. Clearly post on ballot envelops, vote centers, and drop boxes that it is penalty to violate election law.
b. Clearly post on ballot envelops, vote centers, and drop boxes how to report election violations.
c. Clearly post on ballot envelops that if the person on the envelop is not at your resident to return it to the Registrar of Voters.
d. Define inactive voters, report the number of inactive voters and report the number that participated in the election.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
Thank you for your compliments and comments.
1. N/A

2. Prior to ballots being picked up at Vote Centers, the Vote Center Representatives (VCRs) will reconcile the ballots and document the results. The couriers will also need to sign when they receive ballot boxes. The boxes will have numbered seals, tracked on a seal log. All items will be reviewed, always under two person integrity, upon arrival at a ballot receiving station and/or at our office.
3. a. While we can have the schedule available, we need flexibility with the schedule due to staff availability and local traffic.

3. b. Observers are always welcome to observe the counting of ballots.

3. c. We are considering releasing the number of ballots received on a regular basis.

3. d.  We will take this suggestion under consideration.

3. e. Thank you for your workbook.  We will review it further.

3. SB 450 requires a post-election report such as you describe. 

3. a. Yes.

3. b. We will do this at Vote Centers & Drop-boxes.  The voter signs a declaration or oath on their envelope.             

3. c. Our envelopes include our office phone number for any information.  FYI – CA SOS is moving to uniform VBM envelopes – see

4. Within 30 days of the election, it will be certified, and a Statement of the Vote will be posted on our website.

(94) Tim
These are my thoughts, as promised to Anthony, about a speakers’ bureau to spread the message that San Mateo County voting will go Mail-Mostly in June:

The proposal:

  • Recruit and train a cadre of 5 to 50 San Mateo County residents as speakers who could talk to community audiences about the new method of voting. These might be 15-minute talks plus questions.
  • The training could involve: 
  • A one-hour face-to-face training by County Elections staff (perhaps even a webinar). Will need a FAQ for most common expected questions.
  • Materials in the appropriate language to leave behind for the audience.
  • Printed information about the nearest and most relevant Vote Centers to voters for each audience.
  • Support from County elections staff to generate and schedule bookings.

Supporting thoughts:

  1. Various ethnic/languages advocates argued that one-on-one conversations would work best for spreading the word in their communities. Fortunately, the messaging would not change for these advocates, and the training might be very similar if not identical. 
  2. Recruit speakers through organizations that attended the January 8 session in San Mateo:
  • League of Women Voters is key and doing this already, as one told me. Get more.
  • Ask each of the attending organizations (Thrive Alliance or Silicon Valley Foundation can provide a list) to commit at least one (preferably more) speaker to be trained to talk to their community. In addition, they should be asked to put a short article (provided by County Elections or another entity) in their newsletter or other internal communications. Ask for one-time commitment, then ask for multiple issues. 
  • Seek speakers from the communities listed in #3. 
  1. County Elections should segment county voters to reach out through organizations they already know, trust and participate in. Under the Voters Choice legislation, specific language communities and the disabled communities would be prioritized.  Others could include: 
  • Seniors in senior living facilities
  • Churches and other places of worship
  • Schools (perhaps through the County Superintendent of Schools, Anne E. Campbell)
  • Email mailing lists (listservs) in various neighborhoods of the county
  • Local government entities (cities, towns, schools, special districts, etc.)
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Service clubs (Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.)
  • Book clubs
  • Etc.

Registration & Elections Division Response:
We are happy to train interested individuals or groups. We will also offer an online toolkit to assist those interested. We are happy to respond to invitations to speak to any interested group. Thank you for your comments.