Newsletter - Volume 6, Issue 1

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


March 2012


By Colleen Ksanda / Precinct Coordinator
Hello everyone from your poll worker recruiter and trainer, and many thanks to those of you who served at the polls in last year’s November 8, 2011 Uniform District Election.

Historically, UDEL elections, which are held in oddnumbered years, draw out far fewer voters than general elections, which are held in even numbered years (and have initiatives, referenda and candidates for statewide and federal offices on the ballot). With vote by mail on the increase, the average polling place turnout in the 2011 election was only 11.41%.

Of course, this year will be a very busy year for elections as a Presidential Election always means high voter turnout. What’s more, we have two changes coming to elections.

  1. The June 5, 2012 Primary Election will be California’s first “Top Two Primary Election,” approved by voters under Proposition 14 in June 2010.
  2. Marin has newly drawn precinct boundary lines, which means some voters will be voting in new supervisorial districts and some voters will be reassigned to new polling places.

Due to these changes, I urge anyone who is planning to work at the polls in June to attend a poll worker training class. At training we will review polling place procedures, explain and practice administering the ”Top-Two Primary Election,“ and provide you with resources to help you accurately process voters on Election Day. The training dates for June’s election will be from May 29 through May 31.

On behalf of all of us at the Elections Department, I want to thank all of you who have volunteered your time as poll workers. We value your continued and dedicated commitment to serving Marin County’s voters and we are excited to working with you again for one or both elections this year!


Prior to the “Top-Two Open Primary Act,” candidates running for partisan office appeared only on their own party ballot and the candidates with the most votes cast from within their party would appear on the ballot in the ensuing general election.

Under this new primary election system, we will continue to have separate ballots for each political party; however, all candidates except Presidential and central committee will appear on the ballot together, regardless of their political party preference.

The Presidential candidates advancing to the general election will be the top vote-getters in each party. For all other state offices in this primary election, only the candidates who received the highest and second highest number of votes cast, regardless of political party, will move on to the November 6, 2012 General Election.

For the June 5, 2012 Presidential Primary Election, 2 political parties will allow voters who do not have a party preference to vote for president on their party’s ballot:
  • The American Independent Party
  • The Democratic Party


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.

The Elections Department will notify all voters of their new precinct and polling place and their voting options for the June 5, 2012 Primary Election.


By Elaine Ginnold, Registrar of Voters
I was an Election Observer for the January 15, 2012 Parliamentary Election in Kazakhstan. My assignment was in Pavlodar, an industrial city in the northeast part of the country.

Election Day went well. The polls opened at 7 a.m. when the poll workers stood up, put their hands over their hearts and sang the national anthem to music playing from loudspeakers.

Most polling places are in large rooms in universities, schools and businesses. The poll workers are employees of the establishment that hosts the polling place. Each polling place is equipped with a computer, printer, fax, phone and a sound system.

Although over 2000 voters were assigned to each polling place, the voting went smoothly and efficiently. That is because the Rosters are divided up by the letters of the alphabet and voters line up according to the letters in their last names.

Each voter received 3 ballots, each with one contest. One was for the different parties running for representation in the parliament and the other two were for local elections. After voting, voters put their ballots into a clear, locked ballot box in the middle of the polling place where everyone could see it.

Folk music played from the sound system at each polling place all day long so that voters could find their way to the polls by following the sound of the music.

There is no mail delivery of ballots. An Absentee Voter is a voter who will be away from his/her polling place on Election Day and applies to vote at Kazakhstan has ”mobile voting,“ where two poll workers take a small ballot box and ballots to the homes of people who are ill or disabled. It also has ”closed polling places“ at military bases and institutions with a fixed population. As soon as all voters at these closed polling places have voted, the poll workers can close up the polls.

At 8:00 p.m. when the polls closed, the poll workers cut off the corners of the unused ballots, counted them and packed them up. Then they proceeded to hand count the ballots. It was a very, very, very slow process. It took the poll workers 5 hours to count the ballots at the polling place where we were observing and they were the first polling place to report their results to the Territorial Election Center (like our county office).

Once the ballots got to the Territorial Election Center, they disappeared into a honeycomb of rooms according to the precinct. We stayed there until 6:00 a.m. and never saw any results. There were still no results when we went back at noon. That is because all of the results have to be hand-entered into an Excel spreadsheet, which can take up to 5 days.

The head of the Territorial Election Commission referred us to the party headquarters of the main political party and said, ”they know the results.“ Sure enough they did and were having a noisy celebration rally with workers in their hard hats, an enthusiastic MC and lots of music and drum beating.

This election observation mission was sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and included over 200 short term observers from Europe, Russia and the U.S.


If you have a story you want included in the next newsletter, please contact our Editor, email or phone 415-473-6439 Colleen Ksanda.


Local jurisdictions may call an election for an established election date no later than 88 days before Election Day. We mail Poll worker recruitment letters 3 to 4 months prior to each scheduled election date.

  • June 5, 2012 Presidential Primary Election
  • November 6, 2012 Presidential General Election
  • March 5, 2013 Special Election (No election is scheduled at this time)
  • June 4, 2013 Special Election (No election is scheduled at this time)
  • November 5, 2013 Uniform District Election