SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — California Primary day is March 3, but voters in Santa Clara County are already casting their ballots at new polling places that just opened. It’s part of a new system of voting called Voter’s Choice.
“We want to make voting easier for people,” said Eric Kurhi, a spokesman for the Registrar of Voters.
One of the new voting centers is on the campus of San Jose State University.
“My friends were telling me about the voting process, how we can now vote in our library, so I walked over. It was pretty simple, took about ten minutes,” said Tyreke King, an SJSU Student.
A large office on the ground floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. library is one of 22 new voting centers scattered around Santa Clara County that are now open through election day March 3.
The full service voting locations, which opened over the weekend, can also register people to vote.
“20 years ago, 80 percent of the people voted in person and 20 percent voted by mail. Today it’s just the opposite. So people are interested in the convenience afforded by things like vote by mail or voting centers where they can vote anyplace in the county and not just their polling place,” Kurhi said.
Many of the voting centers are in public libraries, churches or community centers. 88 more locations will open three days before election day. San Jose State officials welcomed a center on campus in hopes it will increase student voter participation.
“Students were looking for a place where it would be more convenient for them to vote, we listened and made this opportunity happen here at the library,” said Charlie Faas, Vice President of SJSU.
The Registrar of Voters reported a few minor issues with some pieces of equipment, but nothing to prevent anyone from voting.
So far only about 400 people have voted in person at the voting centers, but that number will rise by March 3.
By comparison, about 90,000 people have already voted by mail. King said voting is important and now more convenient.
“I just wanted to get my ballot in first, and let them know where I stand,” he said.
Santa Clara County is one of the few counties in the state who have adopted Voter’s Choice. Others include San Mateo Napa and Sacramento Counties.