The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Santa Clara’s New Council Districts All in a Day’s Work for Registrar of Voters

This November, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters will run 13 congressional elections, 12 state elections, 17 municipal elections, 67 school community college board elections and 20 special district elections. That’s hundreds of different ballot permutations. Multiplied by five different languages, that’s more than one thousand unique ballots and voting guides.

It’s all in a day’s work for Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) Shannon Bushey (pronounced boo-shay) and her expert team.

Incorporating Santa Clara’s new City Council districts is nothing out of the ordinary for Bushey and her team. “We have made new districts before,” she said. While allowing that the schedule was short, “It was a condensed time frame, but this isn’t new for us. We’re used to working six, seven days a week for months at a time.”


“We regularly get notices of new properties,” she continued. “Entering and confirming district information — that happens regularly.”

The ROV will be doing the same thing on a huge scale after the 2020 census data is compiled. “It’s the same process,” said Bushey, “connecting addresses to new congressional, state assembly and senate districts.”

The City met a very tight deadline for providing district maps and parcel and address information, and Bushey’s office is now at work. “We delivered the maps to the City on Saturday [July 28] and the City approved them the same day and returned them Sunday [July 29],” Bushey said. “I was proud that our first submission of new boundary maps were approved by the City.”

After the geographic information system (GIS) data is mapped, every residential address and parcel number is connected with a voting precinct. Then individual street segments are assigned to districts and the ROV team identifies any voting precincts that need to be changed.

Finally the information goes into the voter database — the Election Information Management System — where the precise details of what will be on every individual voter’s ballot and their preferences, such as permanent vote-by-mail, are stored. It’s this system that will generate all of the different ballots and election booklets.

“Every step of the process is checked and double-checked for accuracy,” said Bushey.

Checking and rechecking is part of the ROV’s routine for getting ready for the November election. Before elections the office verifies the logic and accuracy on ballot counting machines.

After the election there are numerous state-mandated audits — called the 30-day Canvass of the Vote — including reconciling election materials returned by poll workers, validating voter signatures, reviewing spoiled and provisional ballots and making a manual count of 1 percent of the precincts.

The ROV brings on hundreds of temporary employees at election time, thousands of poll workers, as well as hundreds of volunteers for election night — which officially begins at 5 a.m. Tuesday and ends Wednesday night for ROV staff.

Bushey wants people to know that the ROV is hiring and accepting volunteer applications right now.

“Poll workers do a tremendous service for their community and for democracy,” she said. “There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from providing such a vital function in the election process.”

If you’re interested in being a poll worker, call 408-299-POLL. Anyone interested in being an election night volunteer should call 408-918-9169. For more information, visit


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