Clerk's office sees last minute rush on Measure C | May 15, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - May 15, 2009

Clerk's office sees last minute rush on Measure C

Hundreds take advantage of drop off locations

by Geoff Gillette

The May 5 special election on Measure C in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District was to be mail-in only, but more than a thousand residents visited two drop-off locations that Tuesday to hand-deliver their ballots.

Election judges took the ballots from the drop-off areas back to the clerk's office at 8 p.m., and officials will count them and add them to the totals within the next several days. However, Contra Costa County Clerk Steve Weir posted the unofficial poll results shortly after 8 p.m., with a total of 39,271 votes cast.

As of May 12, Weir said his office had received a total of 43,381 Measure C ballots, 1,082 of which were turned in at the two drop-offs. Voter turnout for the special election now shows at 53 percent, higher than reported earlier, which includes ballots received at Weir's office in Martinez by mail on May 5. The extra 4,110 votes are expected to be added to the vote totals already reported online when the election is finalized early next week. No matter what the final tally, Measure C passed by the required two-thirds vote.

"We're hopeful of making this election final before the May 19 special election," Weir explained.

The overlap between the two special elections has created some difficulty in Weir's office and an expected upgrade of its ballot sorting machine has not come fully online, exacerbating the situation.

Weir said he was surprised by the large number of people coming to the drop-off locations.

"It was constant throughout the day," he stated. "Some people do not want to send their signature through the mail on the outside of an envelope. Several people told us that. We're trying to figure out what to do with that."

Two ways of solving that issue are by including a second envelope or by using a detachable flap. Weir said either of those will work, but both will cost money.

"We're trying to rethink this but it comes at a time when were trying to reduce the cost of government," he said. "So every decision we make has a cost filter on it."