Menlo Park voters report delays, snafus at polls


Menlo Park voters reported long lines and delays in voting at some polling places in the city.

One voter called The Almanac at around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday -- 15 minutes before the close of polls -- and said that she had been in line about 20 minutes at the First Baptist Church at 100 Middle Ave. at Arbor Road, and there were 18 people in back of her.

She also heard complaints from voters that they were given wrong information about their polling place. One woman, who said she had voted at the church for years, appeared frustrated and said she was re-directed to vote at Little House.

Another Menlo Park voter reported that he waited in line about 30 minutes before voting, and that when he left his polling place at 6:35 p.m., there were 35 people in line.

A voter at the First Baptist Church reported at around 8:20 p.m. that she had just left the polling place and that there were still 25 people inside waiting to vote.

The five voting machines were occupied, and when voters asked for paper ballots, they were told the polling place had run out -- for the second time that day.

"I spent about 40 minutes in line and about 5 minutes voting -- the first time I've ever experienced a significant delay in voting in Menlo Park," she said.

The count appears to be going very slowly.

An observer said that people appeared to take a long time to vote on the machines, possibly because of the long ballot and unfamiliarity with the machines.

An Almanac reporter drove by Bethany Lutheran Church in West Menlo Park at around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night and noticed three men closing up a stretch white van big enough to hold voting machines. Asked if they were from the elections office, they said they were. Asked how it was going, one said, "Pretty busy."

If you have encountered any problems at your voting place, please send the information to

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Like this comment
Posted by Perplexed Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 2, 2010 at 10:23 pm

With the voting line an hour long 15 minutes before closing I asked for a paper ballot thinking it would be faster. "Sorry, we don't have any more in English, how about in Chinese." "Ok," I replied, "How does that work because I don't speak Chinese? "Well the sequence matches the electoral guide and there is some English on it - you might give it a try." Well, tonight was a first... I turned in a Chinese language paper ballot and it was a lot quicker than waiting an hour to use the machine! As I left my firehouse polling place hoping I checked the right boxes I kept thinking that someone somewhere might have figured out there just aren't all that many Chinese citizens in Menlo Park lacking the ability to speak English...

Like this comment
Posted by disgusted
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 3, 2010 at 12:09 am

How can people become citizens without knowing enough English to vote?

Like this comment
Posted by Sidney Liebes
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm

At my 2 Nov 2010 voting place there was no awareness that they were serving more than one precinct. This was significant, in that the electronic ballots presented to the voters from the (at least) two precincts being served should have been different (different district school boards), but were not - the sample ballot mailed to me prior to the election was correct. Since the voting place personnel were unaware that they were serving more than one precinct, voters were not asked for their precinct numbers, so could not be assigned access codes that might have brought up diffent electronic ballots, if, indeed, they were available within the machines.

I am not in a position to know how wide-spread among precincts this issue was. I am aware that at least one other voting place had the same problem, and that, furthermore, the same problem presented itself in the previous election.

Additionally, The “Precinct Tracker” Web Link at the San Mateo Co. voter site, Web Link, lists neither my precinct, nor the precinct that was problematic at the other voting place.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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