Watch CBS News

Bay Area Election Officials Grapple With Avalanche Of Mail-In Ballots Over 2 Weeks Before Election Day

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – By the end of this Friday, about 22 million Americans will have already voted, almost two million of those here in California. By comparison, there would normally be fewer than 200,000 votes cast in California by now.

It's being called "an avalanche" of ballots. KPIX 5 checked in on elections officials in Santa Clara County on Friday.

"Yeah, right now our staff is in the process of opening and flattening the ballots that have already come in," said Evelyn Mendez with the Santa Clara Registrar of Voters Office.

Santa Clara Registrar of Voters
Ballots being processed at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. (CBS)

"That process has started already, we're preparing them. We have about 20,000 that are actually verified, the signatures," Mendez went on to say.

The early ballots are stacking up inside with workers busy verifying signatures, and getting ballots ready for processing. Outside, voters who have made up their minds continued to pour in.

"I mean, it's not gonna change," one voter said, dropping off her ballot. "So, might as well get it done and over with."

ALSO READ: 'Voters Have Responded' – 1.5 Million Californians Have Turned In Ballots 3 Weeks Before Election Day

"The people who vote in every election no matter what, they are going to get their ballots in early and I suspect that's a lot of the ballots we are seeing now," said Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation. "But we have millions of other people who have ballots in hand who have not cast them yet, myself included."

Alexander said the early surge of voters may largely reflect one kind of voter.

"A lot of people have decided how they want to vote in the presidential contest but we have 12 state propositions on the ballot," she explains. "They are not an easy bunch of measures to make your way through so I can totally understand why many voters want to take more time and do more research."

Voters are, in one respect, running out of time. Enter Reggie, the registration bear.

"Yes he is there to remind people to register to vote by the October 19th deadline," Mendez said of the inflatable registration mascot.

That deadline is Monday, but for anyone who misses that deadline, you can still vote, with some complications.

"Yeah, you would end up casting a conditional, provisional ballot," Alexander said. "It will get counted but it takes longer to do at your voting site, and then it will be verified after all the other ballots have been counted."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.