County voter registration upBy Michelle Durand
San Mateo County's voter registration rolls got a last-minute bump, adding thousands since the June primary with a large chunk in the last month alone, according to the county's election office.
"We actually gained 6,000 to 7,000 in the last month," said Elections Manager David Tom.
A late-season hike is common but usually not that close to the end of registration.
"I was worried a bit," Tom said.
Several factors contribute to the constant flux in registration numbers - deaths, relocations to and from the county, turning 18 - so it can be difficult to pinpoint if other components like negative campaigning or specific propositions play a role.
In June, the county had 339,758 registered voters of which 38 percent cast a ballot. As of yesterday, the county has 356,000 voters, according to Tom.
As of Oct. 22, 178,771 of those were Democrats, 71,179 were Republican and 953 voters affiliated with miscellaneous unofficial parties. The remainder are registered with other official parties or are decline to state. Just over 83,000 are decline to state.
The last gubernatorial election drew 60 percent of voters and Tom estimates 62 percent to 63 percent on Tuesday although "this is a tough election to call."
The increasingly negative battle of Jerry Brown versus Meg Whitman for governor and a number of highly publicized propositions might just draw voters out - or, Tom said, turn them off.
About half the county's voters opt for absentee ballots and, of those, 20 percent to 30 percent are dropped at polling places on Election Day. The last-minute submissions do drag out the final vote counts, with conclusive totals not often known until days later.
Tom reminds absentee voters wanting to avoid a day-of delivery to get their ballots in the mail as soon as possible. Only those received in the Elections Office by 8 p.m. Nov. 2 will be counted; postmark dates do not matter in California.
Voters can still request an absentee ballot but must do so in person at either of two elections offices through Election Day. The offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo or 555 County Center, First Floor, Redwood City.
Absentee ballots not mailed in time can be dropped off at any open polling place, the elections office or any city hall.
Copyright ©2010 San Mateo Daily Journal. Published 11/01/2010.