Menlo Park poll workers surprised at high voter turnout

 

Unlike other towns across California reporting low voter turnout, Menlo Park is seeing a steady stream of voters because of a controversial ballot measure that would dictate how the city develops if it passes.

By mid-afternoon about 162 voters had walked in to precincts at Trinity Church to cast their votes electronically. Poll workers reported an unusually high turnout due to Measure M (Farida Jhabvala Romero/Peninsula Press).

By mid-afternoon about 162 voters had walked in to precincts at Trinity Church to cast their votes electronically. Poll workers reported an unusually high turnout due to Measure M. (Farida Jhabvala Romero/Peninsula Press)

Measure M would limit the amount of future office space that can be built downtown and along El Camino Real to 100,000-square feet per project — about the size of two football fields. If approved by voters, the initiative would delay or derail two large development proposals under review by the city that would also include 390 housing units and retail space.

“Measure M has brought out a lot of people,” a precinct inspector, who gave his name as Joel, said. “I’m surprised voter turnout is as high as it is.”

By 2:30 p.m., about 162 voters had walked in and voted electronically at Trinity Church on Ravenswood Avenue, which is hosting three precincts. That number doesn’t include voters who cast paper ballots or who voted by mail.

Poll worker Dwana Bain, 44, said she expected a rush of voters after 5 p.m. at the end of the work day. Bain agreed that Measure M was the likely cause for the unusually high voter turnout.

Another poll worker stationed at Trinity Church for eight years said this was the most activity during midterm elections she had ever seen. She refused to give her name citing that poll workers must remain neutral. “We are doing really good, we’ve had a great turnout so far,” she said.

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