County implements drive-throughs for voters

New ballot drop-off locations, including one in Palo Alto, are off to a slow start

Santa Clara County voters who have yet to turn in their absentee ballots may do so without stepping out of their cars, thanks to new drive-through ballot drop-off locations the county created for voters' convenience.

But the five new drive-through points are off to a slow start: They have received 1,432 ballots in the two weekends they've been open. Palo Alto's drop-off box, at the corner of Page Mill Road and El Camino Real, received 136. They will be open Tuesday, June 5 — Presidential Primary Election Day — during polling hours, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The new locations are "the major operational change" to the county's voting system since its new elections chief, Barry Garner, took over in November, said Elma Rosas of the Santa Clara County registrar's office.

Of the 546,304 voters who have opted to vote by mail, 129,436 — almost 24 percent — have already returned their ballots. The county has 755,117 total registered voters. Though it's already too late to guarantee that a mailed ballot will be received by the registrar's office (the deadline was May 30), it may be returned to a regular polling place or to a drop-off location.

The rest of Santa Clara County voters will have to cast their votes the old-fashioned way: by going to their local polling places. Regardless of the manner in which they are cast, all votes must be turned in before 8 p.m. or risk being discounted.

The state and county have seen a steady increase in use of vote-by-mail ballots since the California Election Code was modified in 2002 to allow any voter to vote by mail. In the gubernatorial election of 2006 there were 155,656 votes cast traditionally, and 44 percent, or 122,636 votes, came from mail-in ballots.

In the gubernatorial election of 2010, 82,364 votes were cast traditionally, and 75 percent, or 247,232, were absentee ballots.

Statistics, polling place locations, and candidate and measure descriptions can be found at the

county registrar's website.


Like this comment
Posted by Time-For-Voting-On-Line
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

On-line voting would be far more impressive. What's it gonna take to get this Registrar living in the 21st Century.

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Posted by neighbornicole
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I tried to drop my ballot in the Palo Alto & El Camino drop off box on two separate occasions and couldn't find it :( I resorted to dropping it off @ Palo Alto City Hall.

Like this comment
Posted by clarify
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

The Registrar of Voters web page listing drive-through and drop off locations does not list Page Mill-El Camino as a drop-off or drive through location. See

Web Link

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Posted by neighbornicole
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 5, 2012 at 7:40 am

@ clarify the weblink does list Palo Alto Page Mill and El Camino as a drive thru drop off...

Mayfield Soccer Complex
on Page Mill Road and El Camino Real, 2700 Block El Camino Real, Palo Alto​

But, I couldn't find that drop off box. No wonder they have only received 136 ballots, as per the article.

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