Election turnout only 25 percent

A record 76 percent of voters use vote-by-mail ballots

Only 25 percent of registered voters in San Mateo County cast ballots in the Nov. 5 election, according to county Elections Office data reported this week.

Of those who voted, 76 percent used vote-by-mail ballots, a new record for the county.

Below are updated numbers on the high school and college board races, and the uncontested Woodside council election.

High school board

Surging enrollment and dramatic changes in curriculum are among the challenges facing incumbents Alan Sarver and Chris Thomsen, who were re-elected Nov. 4 to four-year terms on the board of the Sequoia Union High School District.

In a three-way race for two seats, challenger Georgia Jack finished a close third. Mr. Sarver received 16,666 votes, Mr. Thomsen, 15,546, and Ms. Jack, 15,096.

"A pretty competitive election night," said Mr. Sarver. "It was what I expected."

Mr. Thomsen had a similar take. "It was a close race and I'm personally grateful for all the support I received," he said. "I think (Ms. Jack) ran a very effective campaign, made lots of connections in the community and had a groundswell of support."

Ms. Jack said there was nothing she would have done differently. "We analyzed the field, we put together a group of eight people who are very hard working and very smart, and we put together a plan and we implemented it," she said.

She critiqued news reporting: "I would like to see the journalists do more investigation. There is a tendency when time is short to go with what people say," she said, "and not thread the pieces together to see what's actually going on. ... Reporters are supposed to be analysts, to synthesize it and let the public know what's going on."

College board

While voters gave incumbent Richard Holober a fifth four-year term in the Nov. 5 election for two seats on the board of the San Mateo County Community College District, they also cast more votes for newcomer Thomas Mohr, a former president of Canada Community College in Woodside.

The two captured the seats with Mr. Mohr receiving 56,071 votes and Mr. Holober, 51,055. Two other candidates finished far back: George Yang received 15,203 votes and J. Samuel Diaz, 9,268.

Woodside council

The uncontested election for three seats on the Woodside Town Council ended predictably, with voters returning to office the three incumbent candidates: Deborah C. Gordon, Anne M. Kasten and David Tanner.

Woodside elects council members by district, and there was only one candidate in each of the three districts with seats up for election. In District 2, Ms. Gordon won election to her fourth term with 650 votes. In District 4, Mr. Tanner won election to his fourth full term with 640 votes. In District 6, Ms. Kasten won with 632 votes to start her second term on the council.

Dave Boyce


Like this comment
Posted by Lee
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

We can't be too far away from voting my e-mail. If vote by mail is an option, voting electronically must be not far off. Save gas for poll workers and support staff, can occur at any time of day and from a library, etc. We aren't a voter ID required lets catch up with the 90's.

Like this comment
Posted by Jim Turner
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Only 25% voted and 76% of those were mail-in ballots so only 6% actually voted at the polls. Why not use mail-in only voting on these minor elections and save money?

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