New Law Gives Voters Chance to Help the Environment and Save Tax Dollars
Voters can sign up to get Official Voter Information Pamphlets online in lieu of getting paper voter pamphlets in the mail

Archive Press Release

Contact: Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

Alternate: David Tom, Elections Manager

(Redwood City, CA) Voters in the upcoming May 3, 2011 Consolidated Local Special Election will be able to sign up to access their Voter Information Pamphlet online with last year’s passage of AB 1717 which added Section 13300.7 to the Elections Code effective January 1.

The law makes it possible for the Elections office to not print and send a paper version of the Official Voter Information Pamphlet if a voter makes that choice.  Instead, a voter can access his or her sample ballot, voter pamphlet, notice of polling place and associated materials electronically via email or by accessing them on the county’s web site .

San Mateo County Voters will be introduced to this option in the May 3 Voter Information Pamphlet.  The voter pamphlet and official mail ballot will land in most households this week.  “The voters in San Mateo County are sophisticated web users. I believe many of them will embrace this opportunity to ‘go green’ and to help reduce the cost of elections,” Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder explained.  “In addition, there are lots of voters who will embrace the option for the convenience factor alone.  We are pleased to facilitate this service to our voters!”

 “There are several compelling reasons to sign up for an eco-friendly, paperless voter pamphlet,” Church continued. Consider the merits of paperless voter pamphlets. 

7 Reasons to Go Green and sign up for a paperless voter pamphlet:

  1. It’s convenient.  In just a few keystrokes you can access your Official Voter Information Pamphlet anytime from anywhere. There’s no need to keep track of where you put your paper copy, it’s always there.
  2. It’s flexible.  You can view, save, print, or email the Voter Information Pamphlet to a friend in just a minute or two. And you can do this as many times as you like.
  3. It’s paperless.  You won’t have more paper or multiple copies of this voter pamphlet cluttering up your home and filling up the recycle bin. 
  4. It’s published in three languages—and it complies with the federal Voting Rights Act.  You can access your Official Voter Information Pamphlet in English, Spanish or Chinese.
  5. It’s your choice.  If you find that you’d rather have a paper copy of the Official Voter Information Pamphlet, you can change your mind at any time. 
  6. It’s free.  There’s no cost to make this publication available online; it’s already produced for print.  It actually saves taxpayer dollars.  It costs about $.75/per voter to print and mail each voter an Official Voter Information Pamphlet.  If the county’s 342,000+ registered voters signed up, the savings would be $256,500 in each countywide election. 
  7. It’s good for the planet. It saves trees, reduces the carbon footprint and lessens the load in our landfill.

“If a voter decides to give the paperless option a try and changes his or her mind at a later point in time, it’s very simple to revert back to paper,” Church explained.  The online application retains the voter’s preference and updates it in seconds.  The voter uses the exact same process to reverse their choice.

“I believe that when people try the paperless option, they will prefer it.  I expect it to grow in popularity in the same way that voters have embraced Vote by Mail,” Church concluded.

There is also a household option for people who are willing to share a single paper voter pamphlet with the other voting members of the household.  Here’s how it works.  If all the voters in a household except one sign up for an online voter pamphlet, the Elections Office will be authorized to send a single paper voter pamphlet to your home. “Households that choose to share one copy of the voter pamphlet can really make a difference,” Church noted.

For more information regarding the upcoming Consolidated Local Special Election, check the Elections web site,, call the Elections Division at 650.312.5222 or email

The press release is displayed in its original format. San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder & Elections website now resides at