SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters reports a record number of registered voters for the 2018 midterm election. On Election Day at the Registrar's office in San Jose, waiting voters had to take a ticket.
Nader Raeissi was especially excited. The 59-year-old San Jose father moved to the Bay Area from Iran 16 years ago and just became a citizen in the last 2 weeks.The first-time voter brought his certificate of citizenship with him along with the American flag from his naturalization ceremony.
"I promised to myself and I promised at that ceremony to do my duties as a citizen and one of them is vote," said Raeissi.
One man dropped off a half-dozen vote-by-mail ballots for family members. Others, including Amber Backes, brought children too young to vote.
"So we are here just going to do our duty, even though there's 100 people in front of us we are doing our best to get through before classes," said Backes.
The San Jose mother of three homeschools her children and passed the hour it took her to vote by teaching math and talking civics on the floor at the Registrar's office.
"I do make a big deal with my daughters that women are allowed to vote in our country. That's something important to us, that we get out to vote because we have the right and women fought for that," said Backes.
C. Michael Traw, who lives in Campbell, says in the 10 years he's worked the polls, he's never seen a turnout like this one.
"We had a man this morning who came in (who was) 65 that had never voted before but he's out voting this year, so that's really great," said Traw.
Voters say there were more reminders than ever from Bitmojis to Instagram stories. A smartphone app created by late-night host Samantha Bee, provided extra motivation for 28-year-old Sabrina Miller of San Jose, to take a selfie with her "I Voted" sticker.
"She has an app and that's part of why I wanted the sticker because I get an extra life in her app if I get a picture with the sticker and she has money prizes and she's trying to get people to vote," said Miller.
As for first-time voter Raeissi, he said there was nothing in particular he was excited to vote on, adding just voting itself was exciting.