February 7, 2012 - The Nuts and Bolts of Piedmont's Election Day

Source: Piedmont Patch
Title: The Nuts and Bolts of Piedmont's Election Day
Date: February 7, 2012
By: Dixie Jordan

At polling places, Piedmont City Hall and the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office, workers are revving up for a demanding day – and evening. Candidates, meanwhile, are waiting to learn their fates – which could happen as early as 9:30 p.m.

If all goes smoothly, Dave Macdonald hopes to be home in bed by 10:30 tonight.

Macdonald is the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, the person who oversees every detail of every election within the county, from handing out nomination papers to certifying the final results.

While today's Piedmont Municipal Election is a comparatively small one (there are no other elections in the county today), Macdonald and his staff will be on the job well into the evening. They will even answer their phone, 510-267-8683, until they close up shop for the night. Macdonald hopes that will be before 10 p.m.

Today starts especially early for poll workers, who arrive before dawn at Piedmont's six polling places to set up. They will be assisting voters until 8 p.m., but their day won't be over. Poll workers will then pack up their gear, place ballots in special red bags and deliver everything to a central collection point.

For this election, the collection point is a group of tables in front of Piedmont City Hall. There, the election materials will be loaded into county vehicles – one for "essential" materials, another for equipment and supplies – and delivered to the Registrar's Office.

Macdonald said it takes about an hour to close up a polling place.

City Hall

Inside City Hall, Piedmont City Clerk John Tulloch expects to spend much of the day answering voters' questions.

"We do get a good volume of callers on Election Day, mostly asking 'Where is my polling place?'" he said. (See this article for information on how to find your polling place.)

Tulloch, too, will be on evening duty. His office will receive election results via a special electronic feed from the Registrar's Office that includes a precinct-by-precinct breakdown. He will post results on the City of Piedmont website as soon as they are received.

Results will also be shown on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the city's public access channel. (Results only, no live commentary, Tulloch noted.)

Tulloch suggests people check the website about 8:15 p.m. for the earliest returns.

Schedule for Election Results

Back at the Registrar's Office, the staff will release the first returns – from vote-by-mail ballots – very shortly after 8 p.m. Macdonald said his office is legally able to process vote-by-mail ballots before the polls close, although they are not able to see the results until 8 p.m.

Macdonald said his office had received 2,296 vote-by-mail ballots as of Monday afternoon, out of a total of 4,991 vote-by-mail ballots requested for this election. Piedmont has a total of 8,178 registered voters.

It will be over an hour until the next results – from in-person voting at polling places on Election Day – are released. Macdonald said most likely the combined results from all six Piedmont precincts will be released as a batch, probably between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m.

Even then, the counting isn't over. On Wednesday, the Registrar's Office will process vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places on Election Day and will post those returns about 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Finally, election results must be formally certified. While the Registrar's Office has 28 days to certify returns, Macdonald expects that Piedmont results will be certified Friday, Feb. 10, or Monday, Feb. 13.

The Candidates

Some of the eight candidates – three for Piedmont City Council, five for the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education – will be doing brief meet-and-greet appearances at public locations today.

And it's possible Nancy "Sunny" Bostrom, a school board candidate, will appear at her chosen campaign corner, the intersection of Highland and Oakland avenues, with a sign bearing her unique slogan: "Too old for a sex scandal and too rich to bribe."

Bostrom planned to be at her post late Monday afternoon. The response from passersby has been mostly positive, she said.

Most of the candidates will spend the evening hours at gatherings with friends and supporters, either at their own homes or the homes of friends. Margaret Fujioka, an incumbent city council member seeking reelection, will host a party at a Piedmont Avenue restaurant.

Piedmont Patch

Patch will have a team posting election results, speaking with candidates and taking photos at candidates' gatherings tonight. Check the Piedmont Patch website for live election coverage beginning at 8 p.m.

Copyright © 2012 Patch. All Rights Reserved.