Low turnout at Bay Area polls

June 3, 2008 12:01:48 PM PDT
It's Election Day in California. However, officials don't expect the measures on state and local ballots to bring out more than 30 percent of voters. Still, San Francisco is opening the same number of polling places as a general election. And officials are on the lookout for problems.

San Francisco officials are trying to take a pro-active approach. They've got two rooms set aside for problems being reported - they have six different sections in those two rooms, eight translators who speak five different languages ready to help; so far they haven't been needed all that much.

John Caldon says he's had an ultra smooth voting day experience. He's enjoying it while he can.

"This is the calm before the storm in November. This is a quiet day and then everybody is going to crazy going out in November and it will bring a lot of people to the polls," said John Caldon, San Francisco.

Out at Park Merced, things weren't calm because when polls opened there were no ballots - no problem.

"They can vote provisionally at any precinct they walk into. We have checks and balances at the department to make sure that their votes are counted," said Paul Hagen, field election deputy.

The report of those missing ballots comes into a room with five separate bays. There's incoming poll worker calls, outgoing calls, precinct services, Sequoia voting machine problems and candidates/campaign trouble. And in room 82, that's where they take calls from the voters themselves. Many asking, 'where do I vote?'

"We just try to redirect them to where they're going - using Googlemaps or whatever to get them where they're going," said Jocelyn Yuen, campaign services.

This second of three elections this year isn't bringing many calls. Compare it to February, 4,000 calls from voters then, as of 9:30 am Tuesday morning, only 200-300.

If you run into any troubles at the polls please call 800-621-7777.


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