Election volunteers at polling stations often outnumbered voters on Tuesday at various ballot locations around San Mateo County.
An off-year election that sought few voter decisions, combined with the increasing trend of vote-by-mail ballots, left many traditional polling places virtually empty during the day.
"It's been a very quiet day," said Election Inspector Mary Lou Dragonryder, in charge of two precincts in San Mateo. "It's a very small ballot, and this particular ballot does not bring out a lot of people, which is a shame. This is just as important as the primaries, and the general elections."
San Mateo Inspector Jerry James said things "are going very slowly. ("Compared to last election?") "Compared to anything. It's around 1:30 p.m. now, and we've had about 60 total votes for three precincts."
"The ballot is rather simple, it's a short, two-page ballot," said Redwood City Inspector Maynard Loeb. "and I think that's part of the reason people are not too interested. I always say, 'That's what you want to be interested in because those are the people you are going to elect.'"
"The turnout is along the lines of what we expected," said Mark Church, chief elections officer for the County. "We have received, so far, 55,000 vote-by-mail ballots, and we're expecting another 5,000 to be dropped off by 8pm tonight."
Officials expect around 40,000 voters to go to the polls by the end of the day, about a 30% turnout.
One voter found showed great passion for the process.
"For God's sake, this is our country," said Magdelena Lakatos. "Look what is happening. Are we blind to it? Young people, they think they push a button on the computer and the food, the clothes, everything jump out. They must vote."