Yolo County Elections Department
September 14, 2006
By Beth Gabor, Yolo County Public Information Officer & Kimberly Bellows, U.C. Davis Intern

Ever wonder where to go if you wish to run for elected office? Or who counts your ballot once cast? The Yolo County Elections Department, headed by Clerk Recorder Freddie Oakley, is your one-stop-shop before, during and after each election held in Yolo County.

The Elections Department not only plans and conducts each election held in Yolo County; it also facilitates registration of candidates, referendums and recalls. Anyone interested in running for public office should partner early on with Elections to ensure all forms and filings due to the county and the Secretary of State are completed and in on time.

“My staff is always on hand to walk those interested in running for office through the process,” notes Clerk Recorder Oakley. “We are here to help remove barriers for candidates (and measures) so that all citizens can participate in democracy and self-governance.”

Elections staff plans many other aspects of local, statewide and national elections for Yolo County citizens, including maintaining voting machines, identifying polling places and hiring volunteer poll workers. All elections take at least five months of planning, and ultimately hundreds of employees.

After Election Day, staff counts all ballots and reviews provisional ballots against the voter file to determine valid voter registration. Elections departments nationwide began using provisional ballots in the 1990s with the passage of the Motor Voter Act. This act stated, among other things, that a citizen cannot be prevented from voting because he/she is not in the voter file at their chosen voting location. This measure was intended to remove barriers to those that have moved and are not on the roster in the precinct they cast their vote. This also works in favor of those who cannot get to their precinct before polls close, removing time and geographical barriers.

In recent years, Elections staff has made tremendous strides in moving polling places out of garages and into heat and air conditioned buildings to better accommodate poll workers, most of whom are seniors.

“Our poll workers are exceptional,” notes Oakley. “Many come back election after election and we are so grateful for their time and commitment.”

Unfortunately, Yolo County still has to scramble to fill its 500 poll worker positions before each Election Day. Citizens interested in working the polls are encouraged to call (530) 666-8133 where staff can answer questions and enroll those interested in the poll worker program.

“An election is a machine with hundreds of thousands of moving parts,” describes Oakley. “In Yolo County, 90,000 of those moving parts are voters, so as you can imagine, no election can ever be perfect. We try, however, to make Election Day run smoothly for voters and poll workers, while still maintaining the integrity of elections in Yolo County.”

For more information on Elections, visit the department at 625 Court Street, Room B05 in Woodland, or visit www.yoloelections.org.

Clerk Recorder Freddie Oakley also oversees the Clerk-Recorder’s Office. Stay tuned for more information on that other important county service.