'Working for democracy': Nation's bravest trade Veteran's Day for counting ballots in South Bay

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Nation's bravest trade Veteran's Day for counting ballots
On this Veteran's Day, veterans are helping to process remaining election ballots in Santa Clara County, as many have still yet to be counted.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On this Veteran's Day, with so many local races still too close to call even three days after Election Day, some counties are working through the holiday to process ballots.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is one Bay Area county working through the holiday weekend in what county election officials call an ''all hands on deck situation,'' with hundreds of thousands of votes still needing to be processed.

FULL LIST: Latest 2022 midterm election results across the San Francisco Bay Area

Trading parades, barbeques and family time - with opening, unfolding, flattening and processing ballots.

"This is very essential right now, we need to count the ballot so I must be here," Roberto Valdez, an elections assistant technician said.

Valdez served two decades in the Navy.

"Being in the military is not that easy, it's not for everybody yeah, but I made it, I made 20 years," he said.

And after all that time, he says there's nowhere else he'd rather be on Veteran's Day, but at work, supervising votes being counted.

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The origins of the holiday can be traced back to World War I, according to AccuWeather.

"We are here to support the community for the democracy so that's very important," he said. "I fight for democracy, now I'm working for the democracy."

A democracy with values passed down to younger generations, like Second Lt. Richard Nguyen with the California Army National Guard.

"When I first went in, it was like a monetary thing or a way to pay for school but now that I'm actually in for so long, I would say I try to look out for my soldiers and try to take care of them as best as I can," Nguyen said.

Nguyen says that translates in the elections office to looking out for voters, ensuring each vote is counted, and only pushing his Veteran's Day celebration back a day.

"I'll be missing out today but not tomorrow," he said.

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Leaving a mark of gratitude from the county.

"I just want to thank all of the Veterans who continue to work for us," Michael Borja, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters said. "We wouldn't be able to do this type of work if it weren't for the community of people helping and serving us to uphold this type of democracy here."

The county will continue to stay open counting ballots throughout the weekend from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A new batch of results will be posted online daily at 5 p.m.

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