This past November, Santa Clara County's election count made headlines not just for cliffhanger results in the mayoral election. A spotlight was also placed on outdated equipment that ensured for yet another year that the Registrar of Voters—in the heart of Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world—came second to last in the state in tabulating votes. Only one other county posted slower result: a rural, sparsely populated jurisdiction east of Yosemite.
Adding to the embarrassment was a series of blunders leading up to Election Day: a couple batches of misprinted sample ballots, a high-ranking tech official who quit on the eve of election night.
The county will hold a hearing next week to discuss those issues, as well as figure out how to improve the process moving forward.
At the request of Supervisor Joe Simitian, the Finance and Government Operations Committee will convene a special hearing Wednesday to review issues that tripped up the Registrar's office in the 2014 election season.
“This has been a recurring challenge for the county,” said Simitian. “It’s time we look for some long-term solutions.”
Simitian, chair of the committee, and vice chair Ken Yeager will study the technologies and processes that may have slowed down the vote tally, which didn't post until 4am the day after election night. They will also consider enlisting private sector help, talk about solutions for candidates whose ballot statements weren't printed and consider adopting an entirely vote-by-mail system.
WHAT: Finance and Government Operations Committee, Special Hearing on Elections
WHEN: 2:30pm Wednesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Supervisor Simitian's office, 408.299.5050