A Snapshot of Bay Area Voters’ Experiences

A record number of Californians are registered to vote in Tuesday’s election, and we have invited you to let us know how your voting experience went. Many of you responded both online and by phone calls.

UPDATE 7: 39 p.m.: We’ve received nearly 100 submissions from voters throughout California. Here are some of their stories:

  • Elaine Connolly voted at Fire Station 26 in Castro Valley: “Night time, at the Lucille entrance no lights, no flags or bunting or signs to alert people of a voting place though it was being held in the gym. The volunteers weren’t helpful, gave me wrong directions, delays because I was put at wrong table which couldn’t communicate with the correct table. When asked to speak with the ‘boss’ was told she wasn’t in attendance, she’d gone.”
  • Debi Cortez voted on La Playa Street in San Francisco: “No wait at all the staff were smiling and greeted me as I came in. They seemed well organized and eager to help and very nice. They gave my granddaughter a sticker and she was excited.”
  • Michael Accinno voted at the Davis Senior Center: “I arrived at my polling station at 7:15 a.m. shortly after it opened, and there was little to no wait. I was in and out within 5 minutes- all in all, it was a breeze.”
  • Rachael Maier voted on California Street in San Francisco: “I was in and out in a matter of 10 minutes. The volunteers were nice, helpful, and really gracious when some not-so-pleasant voters tried giving them a hard time (‘Why is there no American flag out front? That’s WRONG!’)

Photo by Karl Jagbandhansingh

UPDATE 3:33 p.m.: From KQED’s Aarti Shahani: Karl Jagbandhansingh said he voted at Oakland’s Sojourner Truth Manor, 6015 Martin Luther King Jr Way. He said the only machine that counts ballots at this voting station stopped working around 12:45 p.m. One poll worker – who said he was the inspector – started stacking ballots on top of the machine. Jagbandhansingh said he saw the stack get knocked over and ballots strewn on the floor.

When Jagbandhansingh left, around 1:45 p.m., a woman who was the supervisor just began getting the counting machine to work.

Original post:

A sample of the online responses we’ve received so far:

  • Rebecca Petzel of San Francisco described her experience as “positive,” adding “No wait. Lots of space to accomodate many voters at once. I could take my time in the voting ‘booth’ without feeling like I was holding up other voters. Great job San Francisco!”
  • Tracy Anne Sena, also of San Francisco had quite a different experience. “As I was waiting to sign in, a poll worker was on the phone reporting that many of the names in the middle of the alphabet on the voter roll were missing. I didn’t ask a followup question as she was still on the phone as I finished voting. (Thankfully, I am an ‘S’ and not affected.)
  • Gayle Strang of Fremont said her polling place is “in my living room; I voted by absentee mail in ballot.” She says absentee voting gave her “time to research and discuss with my family.”

We also asked if voters experiences had been generally positive or negative. Our colleagues at KPCC have mapped the responses we received so far by polling place. The red markers are negative experiences, the green are positive experiences.

In addition, we had some compelling stories left by voicemail and you can listen here:

We want to hear from voters throughout California. Your stories can help inform election coverage for KQED in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles. Click here for KPCC’s election coverage.

You can share your story by calling 1-415-553-8455 or emailing community@kqed.org. You can also describe your voting experience by filling out the form below and clicking submit.