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Poll workers report heavy turnout in southwest Berkeley

John Geluardi Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday November 08, 2000

Long-time poll workers at south Berkeley polling places said last night they have never seen such a heavy turn voters.  

“This is certainly a larger turn out than I’ve seen in a long time,” said Bill Taylor who has been a worked as a poll worker off and on for the last 20 years. “There was a line to the door from 7 a.m. to noon.” 

Taylor, whose voice was getting horse at 7:30 p.m., cheerfully apologized to a line of 25 people for having to wait to cast their ballots at the Berkshire Retirement Home on Sacramento Street. He assured them they would be able to vote if they were patient.  

Prescient Inspector Norman Harvey at the Oregon Street Apartments Club House echoed other poll workers who said they have never had to fill out so many provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are required when a voter’s name does not appear on a precinct list. The challenged ballot must be reviewed and verified by a judge.  

“I’m not sure what the reason is, but we’ve had to fill out close to 40 provisional ballots today,” he said. “I’ve never seen that before.” 

Voter Donna Lee, who was filling out a provisional ballot form said she registered at the same time as her partner but she never received her sample ballot and her partner did. She said it took several phone calls and two trips to her polling place “but I got to vote and that’s the important thing.” 

At the Francis Albrier Community Center at San Pablo Park, poll worker Arlene Key said part of the reason for the increase in provisional ballots may be due to the large numbers of people who registered late. “There also people showing up here who haven’t voted in 10 years, they’re still registered but their names seem to of drifted away,” she said. 

Lillie Gibson who also works at the Community Center said another new trend is people are being nice. “I never had so many people say ‘thank you’ before,” she said. “And that’s nice.”