Newsletter - Volume 4, Issue 1

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


August 2010


Happy summer! I want to thank each one of you who has responded to our need for poll workers.

Each countywide election the Elections Office recruits between 550 to 720 poll workers from within the registered voters of Marin County. Most of our poll workers return year after year, election after election, to serve at the polls on Election Day. In the June 8, 2010 election, 563 of the 660 poll workers (85%) had prior experience.

Primary Elections are always a challenge because of the different party ballots and non partisan crossover voting. However because of the passage of Proposition 14 on June 8, this will change. In future Direct Primary Elections (held in June of even numbered years) all of the candidates for the six political parties will now be combined on one ballot. Our new challenge in the primary election will be a very large ballot, and maybe two of them!

Once again, thank you for your service. We look forward to seeing your familiar faces this November 2.


Number of registered voters: 149,887
Total turnout: 51.31%
Number of voters voting at the polls: 26,627 (17.80%)
Number of vote by mail voters: 50,235 (33.52%)
Number of precincts: 186 (21 were all mail)
Number of polling places: 104
Number of poll workers: 660

1685 provisional ballots were issued on Election Day. Of these, 1574 were counted and 111 were rejected. Why rejected? 25 were rejected because the voter didn't sign the envelope; 77 were not registered in Marin; and 9 had voted already (usually by mail).


As of February 10, 2011, the Secretary of State reported that Marin had 147,022 registered voters, out of 184,020 eligible (79.9%).

Registration by political party:

American Independent: 2,735
Green: 2,200
Libertarian: 759
Peace and Freedom: 229
Republican: 29,212
Democratic: 82,057
Decline to State: 32,695
Total Registration: 149,887


After the 2010 reapportionment and redistricting, when California’s political boundary lines were redrawn, Marin’s supervisorial districts were adjusted to balance out populations, and our precincts were redrawn to follow US Census boundaries.

If voters in a mail ballot precinct go to a regular precinct to vote, they can vote provisionally, but some of their votes may not count because they will be voting on the wrong ballot for their address. If a voter in a mail ballot precinct wants to vote in person on the correct ballot, they must vote at the Elections Office.


The job of Chief Inspector is challenging enough for Chiefs who are responsible for one precinct. Chiefs must make sure their poll site is open on time, that all of the equipment is set up and working, and their Deputies and Clerks are trained and ready to carry out their responsibilities to voters on Election Day.

The job of Chief Inspectors who manage polling places with more than one precinct presents an even greater challenge. On Election Day, about half of Marin County polling places have more than one voting precinct. The two largest sites, with three precincts each, are the Tam Valley Community Center and the Corte Madera Recreation Center. The chiefs at these large polling places rely on teamwork and organization to help them manage the flow of voters on Election Day.

According to Lynn Eichinger, Chief at the Tam Valley Community Center, “I emphasize the importance of working as a team to ensure that everyone’s vote counts.” Ms. Eichinger says that she makes sure that she has competent and experienced teams of workers and will assign clerks to different precincts within her polling place where they are needed to make sure that the process moves smoothly. On Election Day, she brings in food and snacks so that the poll workers can spend their breaks for whatever they like, rather than looking for a place to eat. “I work to create a calm, positive environment so that clerks and deputies will want to come back again.”

Andrew Rusting, Chief Inspector at the Corte Madera Recreation Center says, “I believe enhancing voter experience is part of my responsibility as a Chief Inspector.” Mr. Rusting knows that the increased voter volume in a multiple-precinct polling place is a challenge to manage because unnecessary waiting frustrates voters – especially if they have been waiting in the wrong line to vote. In order to make it easier for voters to find their correct precinct, he has redesigned and enlarged the precinct guides and posts them at the door where voters can see them when they enter the poll site. “I found it empowered many voters to easily direct themselves, saving time for both voters and poll workers.”

While precincts with more than one polling place present their own special challenges, all Chief Inspectors in Marin County manage their polling places in ways that are designed to make the voting experience for their voters a positive one.


Purpose of the census
At the beginning of every decade, the government takes a census to determine the population of each state. Its primary purpose is to provide the population counts that determine how seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned. The size of the state's population is the basis for the number of representatives, and the number of representatives determines the number of electoral votes for each state.

Census and the Voting Rights Act
The census also collects information about all the languages besides English that are spoken by the population. If the census results show that 5% or 10,000 (whichever is more) of a county’s population is in a single minority language group, the federal Voting Rights Act requires ballots and other election materials to be printed in that language and to provide bilingual poll workers at polling places where needed.

State Law requires Spanish translations of some voting materials
State law requires the Registrar to post translations of the ballot measures at every polling place and provide translated voting instructions. We also place bilingual poll workers at polling places in areas where there is a higher percentage of people who speak a minority language.

The data from the current census will be available to the counties by April 1, 2011 and will determine whether Marin will become one of the many California counties with ballots printed in languages other than English.


Editor: Colleen Ksanda, Precinct Coordinator
If you would like to add an election related story to next year's newsletter, please call, write, email, or phone 415-473-6439.


At this time there are no elections scheduled for March 8th or June 7th; thus, poll workers may or may not be needed on these dates. However, November 8, 2011 is an election in schools, cities and districts, and we will need a full complement of poll workers in that election.

  • March 8, 2011
  • June 7, 2011
  • November 8, 2011