San Mateo County voter turnout ‘pretty low’

Election night in San Mateo County was beset by low voter turnout and slower-than-usual returns.

Just over 18 percent of San Mateo County’s 309,513 voters cast a ballot in Tuesday’s election, according to the county’s Office of Elections. With some absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted, Elections Manager David Tom said that number would likely rise to be consistent with the 24 percent voter turnout the county has experienced for the last few years.

“Sad to say, it’s pretty low,” Tom said.

Candidatesand voters also had to wait longer to see the election night results. Typically, election workers finish tallying votes by 10:30 or 11 p.m., Tom said. This year, however, the results weren’t ready until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Increased security steps instituted this year by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen were responsible for the slowdown, he said.

“Every piece of equipment has to be tracked, security seals must be placed on voting equipment,” Tom said. “The combination of all those requirements slows the transportation and processing of the votes.”

“We’re not unique — every county will be affected,” he said. “But we think that’s a good thing.”

tbarak@examiner.com

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