(BCN) — The inclement weather didn’t appear to dampen enthusiasm for Tuesday’s election as early voter turnout in parts of the Bay Area was meeting or slightly exceeding expectations. While overnight and morning rains snarled traffic and flooded some streets, elections officials in three key counties — San Francisco, Contra Costa and Santa Clara — reported a roughly 30 percent turnout early in the day.
“As far as hiccups, the only thing pretty crazy this morning was the weather,” said Evelyn Mendez, spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. “It was raining and there were some power outages and our staff brought generators, but the power was back on by the time the generators got there.”
Santa Clara officials have been estimating a 55 percent-to-65 percent total voter turnout, but Mendez thinks those percentages might climb.
“I think the numbers are going to be higher, especially considering the numbers we’re seeing today and the numbers coming in,” she said. “I think we’re going to surpass it.”
Mendez reminded voters that they can still mail in their ballots, as long as the envelopes are postmarked Nov. 8. If people chose to use a U.S. Postal Service box, she said they should make sure the mail wasn’t picked up prior to them showing up.
San Francisco Department of Elections Director John Arntz was worried the rain might have put a damper on election center staffing, which could have meant longer lines.
“We had concerns when the rains hit this morning that poll workers would be dissuaded from completing their assignments, but we had almost all show up,” Arntz said. In fact, roughly 200 additional stand-by poll workers showed up to wait for assignments Tuesday morning and Arntz said there were no lines and no waiting times to vote.
“At least in San Francisco, we still have a strong sense of volunteerism when it comes to elections,” he said. Voter turnout was at about 30 percent late Tuesday morning, which compares well to the late morning turnout of 28 percent for the 2018 election, which ultimately ended with 74 percent of registered San Francisco voters participating.
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“The average turnout for last four gubernatorial general elections was 62 percent,” Arntz said. “I don’t know why we couldn’t get there (in this election), it’s just a matter of can we get to 70 percent.”
Arntz said people can still register to vote Tuesday and anyone with election day questions can call his department at (415) 554-4375. In Contra Costa, roughly 10,000 people had already shown up to vote before noon.
“We’ve had lots of people turning ballots into ballot boxes and turning them into polling locations,” said Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters spokesperson Dawn Kruger.
“We haven’t run into any issues things seem to be going pretty smoothly,” Kruger said.
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