Newsletter - Volume 2, Issue 1

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


July 2008


Did you notice that few voters came to the polls on June 3? That was because most of the voters in Marin County had already cast their ballots by mail.

For the June 3, 2008 Primary Election there were 145, 616 registered voters. The total turnout was 62,769, or 43.11%. Of that turnout, 44,377, or 71% of the voters voted by mail and only 18,392, or 29%, went to the polls to vote.

There were 189 precincts in 109 polling places, staffed by 768 poll workers.

The June 3rd election went very smoothly, thanks to all of you who worked at the polls that day. You returned all of the ballots and voting machines quickly, so that we were finished counting the votes by 10:37 p.m. on Election Night.

We’re looking forward to working with all of you again on November 4th. The November Presidential General Election will be a big one. We expect high voter turnout at the polls and a total turnout of 85-90%.


This has been a busy election year with 2 Primary Elections behind us and the upcoming General Election this November. With such a rapid succession of elections, I thought that we might not have enough precinct officers to staff our polling places. But your support has been overwhelming as many of you volunteered for not just one, but both Primary Elections! I truly appreciate your continued involvement and I’m counting on you once again for the last election of 2008 - The Presidential General Election, on 11/4/2008.

This election is likely to generate more interest from poll workers, so if you have a desired polling location and/or want to work with a certain group of people, please mail back the response postcard accompanying your recruit letter early. Your prompt response makes it easier for me to place you according to your request.

On behalf of the staff at the Elections office and the voters of Marin County, I want to thank the hundreds of you who have dedicated your time and efforts to serve at the polls on Election Day, and a big welcome to our new precinct officers!


  • We will have a ballot for November that is easier to detach from the ballot stub.
  • Last election we added a cover page to the Provisional Log, informing voters that in order for the Elections office to process a provisional ballot, the provisional voter must sign on the provisional log only, not the roster page. As a result, the number of provisional voters signing both the log and roster was greatly reduced, thus the Elections office was able to process and count more provisional ballots. As a reminder on this provisional voting procedure, the provisional log cover page will be a permanent addition to the roster. Provisional voters must sign only on the provisional log.
  • The training class stipends have increased to $15.00 for Clerks and $20.00 for Inspectors.


Marin County has one of the highest rates of voter registration in the state. Out of 180,575 Marin County residents eligible to vote, 145,616 (80.64%) are registered to vote. Only Alpine, Orange, Plumas, Sierra and Tuolumne Counties have slightly higher voter registration rates than Marin’s.


Norma Nibbi, a poll worker in Marin County for over 27 years, died in June of this year at age 85. Before her death, Norma told of her experiences as a poll worker beginning in the 1960’s.

Norma was motivated to become a poll worker by the idea of community service. When she saw a “poll workers needed” announcement in the newspaper, Norma recruited a team of her neighbors to staff a polling place in the cleanest garage. While the neighbors worked at the polls, the grandparents would take care of the children.

In those days, the stipend for poll workers on Election Day ranged from $20.00 to 25.00. Voters voted in heavy wooden folding booths with canvass curtains. The ballot box was a big, round metal can with a slot on the top and a lock on the side. In the 1960’s, before there were computers to count the ballots, the poll workers had to count the votes after the polls closed on election night. Often, Norma and her fellow poll workers worked well past midnight to count ballots, since every time they made a mistake in the count, they would have to start it over again. “We would get very tired,” she said. “We started out so early in the morning that by the end of the night the men would have a beard growing.”

Norma was the first of three generations of election workers from the Nibbi family. Norma’s daughter, Norleen, worked at the polls for several years and now works part time in the elections office recruiting poll workers. Lynn and Lisa, Norma’s granddaughters are also election workers.

Our heartfelt thanks to Norma Nibbi and all of you poll workers who spend long hours making the voting process go smoothly on Election Day. We’d love for you to tell us your stories for future newsletters. Please mail your stories of working at the polls to Marin Civic Center, Room 121, P.O. Box E, San Rafael, CA 94913.


Remember the surveys you filled out at the training classes and at the polls on June 3? Some of the highlights of the survey results follow:

  • Most respondents worked at the polls between 6 – 10 elections and said it was a good experience.
  • Training video and written exercises are the preferred method for learning poll worker duties.
  • Training class was very helpful.
  • Q & A session is best part of training class.
  • Closing procedures and balancing the roster need more explanation at training class.
  • More hands-on with machines would improve training class.
  • Better ballot perforations would be an improvement to polling place supplies.


  • Clerks may volunteer to work a ½ day shift if they can recruit a shift partner for the other ½ shift. Shifts are 6:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. If you want to split a shift, you need to recruit a family member or close friend, as the stipend is issued to only one of the shift partners to divide with the other.
  • If you can only work a couple of hours on Election Day, you may be interested in working as a Rider or staffing a Receiving Center on Election evening. If you are interested in one of these positions, please contact Colleen @ (415) 473-6439, or email


There are 3 election dates for 2009. At this time there are no elections scheduled for March 3rd or June 2nd; thus, poll workers may or may not be needed on these dates. However, November 3, 2009 is an election in schools, cities and districts, and we will need a full compliment of poll workers in that election. Please mark your calendars and plan to work if you can the following election dates:

  • March 3, 2009
  • June 2, 2009
  • November 3, 2009