Polls throughout Palo Alto opened at 7 a.m. this morning for the 2014 General Election, with workers reporting a normal turnout after the first few hours of voting and looking forward to the expected lunchtime and after-work rushes.
"It's been steady since 7 a.m.," said Tammy Gravelle, a precinct inspector at a polling place at 2121 Waverley St. "The majority of people coming are vote-by-mail people."
According to its website, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters has already received about 31 percent of the 27,621 mail-in ballots sent out to Palo Alto voters. Gravelle approximated that about two thirds of visitors to the polling place were dropping off mail-in ballots.
"A lot of neighborhood people like to come in ... drop off their ballots and get their stickers," she said, explaining that voters seem to enjoy filling out ballots at home but still want to be part of election day.
The same trend was visible at the polling place at Palo Alto Community Child Care at Ventura Court, where some voters strolled into the activity center with blue mail-in ballots in hand.
Alice Smith, a precinct inspector for one of the two polls there, said that things seemed to be going well this morning. She predicted voting would speed up later in the day, particularly after 6 p.m.
"I think there'll be a good turnout out today," she said.
Local residents dropped by on their bicycles to vote, and others brought their children along.
"Did you get your sticker?" Smith asked one child, accompanied by a parent, as they were on their way out.
Smith, a Palo Alto resident who is volunteering in her sixth election, said that she enjoys being a part of the election process, ensuring that everyone can vote and "votes correctly."
On Waverley Street, Gravelle echoed that sentiment, saying that she enjoys encouraging "democracy in America." Since the poll there -- located in a garage at an ivy-covered private residence -- is also her polling location, working there allows her to say hi to friends and catch up with neighbors whom she hasn't seen for a while.
"So that makes it fun, too," Gravelle said.
Results of today's election will be posted throughout the evening on PaloAltoOnline.com, including interviews with the candidates, photos and more starting at 8 p.m. Also follow us on Twitter.com/paloaltoweekly
Find your polling station and other information about voting today by reading What you need to know to cast your vote.