Voters who want to cast their ballot early have until the end of today to drop it off at one of seven satellite early voting centers or 50-plus drop-off sites throughout the South Bay.
After tonight, the only other option is to send your vote free of charge via snail mail—as long as it’s postmarked Nov. 6 at the latest—or in person at your assigned polling place or the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters headquarters.
On Election Day, early voting sites will be closed, but the ROV office will remain open from 8am to 5pm. Voters who plan to drop off completed ballots at the drop-off box locations on Tuesday should do so by 4:30pm for inside sites and 7:30pm for outside locations, according to an announcement this morning from county election officials. Vote-by-mail ballots can be dropped off at any voting precinct by 8pm.
Those who missed the Oct. 22 registration deadline may still conditionally register to vote at the ROV headquarters on Tuesday or today at any one of the early voting sites. Conditional registration allows qualified residents to fill out a ballot on the same day, though their ballot will only be counted after the county verifies the person’s eligibility.
If you need a ride to the polls, remember that two major ride-hailing apps are offering free trips all day Tuesday, and so is Ford GoBike.
What’s On the Ballot?
In addition to Congressional seats and other elected positions on the ballot, voters will be asked to weigh in on 11 initiatives, with propositions ranging from the gas tax repeal (Prop. 6) to the regulation of private kidney dialysis clinics (Prop. 8), local control for rent caps (Prop. 10) and eliminating daylight savings time (Prop. 7).
With Gov. Jerry Brown winding down his fourth term, voters will also pick a new governor, a contest between Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a centrist Democrat, is looking to extend her 26 years in Washington by going after a fifth term against fellow Dem, state Sen. Kevin De León. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) faces only token opposition from Republican Ron Cohen in the 17th Congressional District. As do congresswomen Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) in the 18th Congressional District, where she faces off with GOP contender Christine Russell, and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) in the 19th against Republican Justin Aguilera.
Silicon Valley’s state Senate incumbent Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Democratic Assembly members Kansen Chu, Marc Berman, Evan Low and Ash Kalra also face little-known GOP challengers in their respective districts.
Other statewide races include those for Secretary of State (Alex Padilla v. Mark Meuser), Controller (Betty Yee v. Konstantinos Roditis), Lieutenant Governor (Ed Hernandez v. Eleni Kounalakis), Superintendent of Public Instruction (Marshall Tuck v. Tony Thurmond), Treasurer (Greg Conlon v. Fiona Ma), Attorney General (Xavier Becerra v. Steven Bailey), Board of Equalization (eight contenders, four seats) and Insurance Commissioner (Steve Poizner v. Ricardo Lara).
Locally, voters in the South Bay will decide the fate of a number of school bonds. In San Jose, four measures are on the ballot, including one that would authorize $450 million in affordable housing bonds (Measure V), another (Measure T) that would unlock $650 million in bond revenue for transportation and infrastructure upgrades and a third (Measure S) that would change the way the city evaluates construction contracts.
Measure U is a tricky one because it asks voters to OK two unrelated charter provisions: one to revoke the City Council’s ability to set its own salary and another to allow the council to put initiatives on the ballot that compete with citizen-backed measures. (Read our round-up of those measures here).
Also in San Jose, two council seats are up for grabs. District 7 incumbent Tam Nguyen is fending off a repeat challenger, nonprofit exec Maya Esparza. In District 9, where veteran councilor Don Rocha is terming out, Campbell Union High School District trustee Kalen Gallagher is running against San Jose Unified trustee Pam Foley.
At the county level, Councilman Rocha is gunning for the District 4 seat on the Board of Supervisors against San Jose Unified Board President Susan Ellenberg.
Whoever wins the county seat will oversee an agency with a multi-billion-dollar budget and, among other things, a Sheriff’s Office struggling to correct course after a series of scandals under Sheriff Laurie Smith, who’s defending her seat against former second-in-command, retired Undersheriff John Hirokawa, in her first runoff since being elected to the post in 1998. Click here to read our overview of the two candidates.
Three seats are up for grabs on the Santa Clara County Board of Education, including appointed incumbent Kathleen King in Area 2, who’s defending her spot against Cupertino Councilman Barry Chang. In Area 7, incumbent Claudia Rossi is up against her former Morgan Hill Unified colleague Gino Borgioli. And in Area 6, Mount Pleasant Elementary School District trustee Peter Ortiz is up against Kiara Kassandra, who ran without filing a candidate statement, without including her last name (Arreola) and without raising money, creating a campaign website, social media pages or returning reporters’ calls.
In San Jose’s largest school district, San Jose Unified, two former district employees, Peter Allen and Helen Chapman, are up against political newcomer Jose Magaña in Area 2 (click here to read more about that contest). In Area 4, appointed incumbent Michael Melillo, a data analyst, is being challenged by Evergreen Teachers’ Association President Brian Wheatley (click here to read more about their race).
In San Jose’s embattled Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, six candidates are trying to oust trustees Khanh Tran and Esau Herrera, who have wreaked havoc on the board and incited unprecedented backlash from the community. It’s gotten so dysfunctional that Tran isn’t even allowed to attend board meetings because of a restraining order filed against him by the superintendent. The candidates jockeying to replace them are Ernesto Bejarano, Ray Mueller, incumbent Andres Quintero, Bruce Huynh, Linda Chavez and Brenda Zendejas.
Other races to watch include the one in Milpitas, where Mayor Rich Tran is up against some tough competition after a rocky first-term against his predecessor Jose Esteves and council colleague Bob Nunez. Also in the running are Yoon Il Lee and Voltaire Montemayor. Meanwhile, six candidates are running for a Milpitas City Council seat against incumbents Marsha Grilli and Garry Barbadillo: Karina Dominguez, Van Lan Truong, Suraj Viswanathan, Timothy Alcorn, Robert Marini and former Councilwoman Carmen Montano.
The City Council race in Cupertino—where elected officials and developers have been locked in a pitched political battle over the fate of the Vallco Mall—drew another crowded field of candidates challenging Mayor Darcy Paul and Savita Vaidhyanathan, including Tara Sreekrishnan, Hung Wei, John Willey, Orrin Mahoney, Tim Gorsulowski and Liang Chao.
Of course, there are plenty more races that we didn’t cover, including those for the region’s dozens of other school boards, special districts and smaller cities. For a complete list of candidates, click here. For a full list of local measures, click here.
The early voting center locations are:
Cambrian Branch Library, 1780 Hillsdale Ave., San Jose
Joyce Ellington Branch Library, 491 E. Empire St., San Jose
Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main St., Milpitas,
Morgan Hill City Hall, Council Chambers, 17555 Peak Ave., Morgan Hill
Santa Clara City Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara
Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
Willey Cultural Center, 140 Fifth St., Gilroy
Ballot drop-off site locations are listed online at sccvote.org.