Palo Alto turns out for historic vote

Poll workers report highest Election Day turnout in years

Election Day buzz started early in Palo Alto, with some voters lining up well before 7 a.m. to cast their ballots, pick up their "I voted" stickers and in some cases snap selfies to commemorate Tuesday's historic vote.

In some precincts, like Unity Palo Alto Community Church, a few people arrived as early as 6:30 a.m., according to poll workers. In many others, lines of voters formed in the busy pre-work hours.

Paula Allard, an inspector in one of two precincts at Palo Verde Elementary School, said she expects the number of voters to exceed the 2012 turnout. By 1 p.m. both her precinct and the other one at the school had about 110 voters come in to cast their ballots. By lunch, the action has slowed down to a steady trickle, with a few voters making their way past the playing children to vote in the school's multi-purpose room.

"It works great with the children because they see everything," Allard said. "They run around, look inside and see what's happening."

They weren't the only local youths learning about getting involved in the democratic process. At Nixon Elementary School, first-time poll workers Katie Freiberg and Marcos Curiel, both seniors at Mountain View High School, said Election Day was pretty much what they expected it to be... a constant flow of voters, intermittent lines, people taking selfies outside and an occasional person from a different county confused about where to vote. By early afternoon, they had helped 97 voters cast their ballots.

Sidney Simon, a poll worker at Palo Verde, didn't need a refresher course on Election Day. Simon, 99, has been working the polls for the past decade. Even during the lunchtime slowdown, the precinct where he was working was largely filled with voters, whom Simon was greeting with cheerful banter. Simon said he was inspired to work the polls because he wanted to be a “good citizen.”

"I don't think of it as fun," the Navy veteran said. "I think of it as a civic duty."

At Unity Palo Alto Community Church, voters also came in at a steady flow throughout the day, said inspector Peter Stonestrom.

"We haven't had any time when we weren't busy," he said.

Several precincts that had seen about 200 voters during the June primary said Tuesday afternoon that they expect the number to get about 500 by the end. While local and state issues undoubtedly play a role in the increased level of civic participation in the heavily Democratic city, Allard summed up the reason for excitement in one word: "Trump!"

At Fire Station 2 on Hanover Street, volunteer David Blum, said he was surprised by the number of voters taking selfies in front of the polling station to mark the historic, and unusual, presidential election.

"We've had a lot of first-time voters come by, and a lot of people bringing their kids with them taking selfies," he said.


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4 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 8, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

No signs on Oregon Expressway! Our next council should move to ban that. We have enough...too many... signs up all over our neighbor'hoods, shopping center corners, et al. Also ban the very aggravating pop up ads every time I try to watch something on the Internet. Greg Tanaka was the worst offender and he'll lose my vote.

Like this comment
Posted by adblock plus
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

"Also ban the very aggravating pop up ads every time I try to watch something on the Internet. "

There's a browser add-on for that!

Like this comment
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 8, 2016 at 8:09 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

I voted at lunchtime today, and was literally the only voter at the polling place.

2 people like this
Posted by absentee
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 8, 2016 at 8:11 pm

I think most PA voters vote by absentee ballot.

2 people like this
Posted by voter
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 8, 2016 at 8:22 pm

Dow Jones futures are down 700 points after hours. Is Trump going to win???

16 people like this
Posted by voter 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 8, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Drain the swamp.

3 people like this
Posted by Lawn Signs
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 9, 2016 at 12:51 am

Love those lawn signs pooping up in neighborhoods. That's how grassroots support their candidates in the good old fashioned way. Interesting to see which candidates are supported in which hoods. Now that the election is over, who is responsible for removing those signs?

9 people like this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 9, 2016 at 9:11 am

Chris Zaharias is a registered user.

After lunch yesterday, I walked 8 blocks down University Ave yelling "Don't vote for Hillary Clinton. She's a criminal. Have a backbone." Did that about 15 times, must've reached about 500 pairs of ears.

California is but one fraction of a country whose majority has just shown itself willing to make a hopeful leap *AWAY* from both parties. Palo Altans mostly voted for Clinton because in addition to being impolite & disrespectful, Trump's an unknown. America has just made Trump president because Clinton and both political establishments are known evils.

4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 9, 2016 at 12:24 pm

"No signs on Oregon Expressway! Our next council should move to ban that."

They ARE banned. The Establishment candidates played scofflaw, knowing city hall seldom enforces its laws. Especially Kniss and Fine. Did you vote for them? I didn't.

14 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Man It has been a Beautiful day today! Best day I've had in a long time.

8 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm

What was the percentage of vote for Trump in Palo Alto? From reading this thread, and from most media and public comment, it should be zero. Somehow, I think that there is more honest discontent than that.

7 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 9, 2016 at 9:46 pm

I voted for Trump. Yes, I hate Hillary THAT much.

5 people like this
Posted by voter 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 9, 2016 at 9:58 pm

"The silent majority have spoken."

10 people like this
Posted by voter 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 9, 2016 at 10:39 pm

In regards to the anti-Trump protesters around the country: Somebody needs to tell the disgruntled protesters that displaying another countries flag, and burning the american flag,does not help their cause. In fact, these actions at previous rally's probably helped get Trump elected in the first place. If they keep it up, he might be in for eight years.

BTW, I voted for the guy that did not know where Aleppo is. That's how disgusted I am with the establishment.

Drain the swamp.

2 people like this
Posted by Tom Paine
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2016 at 8:05 am

Change.Org Petition to Electoral College - Make Hillary Clinton
President on December 19

LINK: Web Link

As of this moment 2,107,031 supporters have signed this petition
for electors to make an independent choice when they cast their
votes on December 19th.

If everyone in the US knew about and had access to this petition
where would it be?

In Donald Trump's calm and conciliatory acceptance speech he
lauded Hillary Clinton's public service and hard work on her
campaign, while the very next day Rudy Giulianni spoke about
investigating and prosecuting her. Virtually everyone is angry
and frustrated at our political system these days, but the
reason our founding installed electors is to provide a bulwark
against the installation of a President that does not respect
our system or a potential tyranny who might tear it down. This
is simply a petition, free speech, and request for electors
to think about what they are doing and what the effect would
be to our country.

Think about it.

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