At 6:45 a.m. Election Day morning, before the polls officially opened at 7, there was a line at the Lesley Gardens’ front door in Half Moon Bay of eager voters ready to cast their ballots.
“It was hopping earlier this morning when we first opened, and the lobby was flooded with people. We expect to get busy again around 6 p.m. and right before the polls close,” said El Granada resident Michael Caligan, a first-time San Mateo County Elections Office volunteer.
“It’s been a lot quieter since this morning, but we’ve had people coming in all day. I’m sure lots of people will show up after work, ” said Derek Kulda, 17, a Half Moon Bay High School student working for democracyLIVE!, the San Mateo County Student Election Officer program where students have the opportunity to get an inside look at the election world by working at polling places on Election Day.
Joe Toschik, a longtime San Mateo County Elections Office volunteer at the El Granada Elementary School polling location, recalls the voter turnout for the 2008 presidential election being just as high as this election turnout.
Although 79 percent of San Mateo County voters cast their ballots in 2008 and this year San Mateo County, Registrar of Voters Mark Church expects only 73 percent will vote.
Still, Toschik has noticed a heavy stream of voters coming in and out of El Granada since the polling location first opening their doors at 7 a.m. this morning, he said.
Most people come in to vote later, however, after picking their kids up from school or coming home from work, said San Mateo County Elections Office volunteer Dennis Paul at the Canada Cove polling location in Half Moon Bay, which according to Paul has been fairly active all day with people coming in to cast their ballots.
Still, throughout San Mateo County, Church is seeing lower turnouts.
Lines are a lot shorter than they were in 2008, Church said.
"We're off to a slow start," he said.
Church said this year there are a lot fewer registered voters in the county than there were in 2008, which may be why there are shorter lines.
"We're electing the leader of the free world for the next four years," Church said. "Everyone is encouraged to come and cast their ballot."
— Additional reporting by Bay City News