Historic turnout for midterm election in San Jose

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In Santa Clara County, officials say there is an historic level of registered voters, and votes already cast, for the mid-term elections. Despite running unopposed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo cast his ballot early, saying every vote counts as he stumps for two local measures.

“We can really demonstrate to the rest of the country what it looks like when a community comes together to tackle the great challenges,” said Liccardo as he cast his ballot at City Hall.

On Election Day, a deluge of voters converge at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, and other polling places.

“None of my family used to go and vote, at all,” said first-time voter Ema Garcia as she stood outside the Registrar of Voters office. “This time, it’s because I think, um, everything is changing.”

Officials say so far, 228,300 mailed ballots have been received. Long lines developed Tuesday morning due to conditional voters registering and then casting day-of ballots. It’s an historic level of interest for a mid-term election, according to registrar Shannon Bushey.

“We have them inside, we have them outside. We have them out on the curb so you can drive up and cast your ballot. We’re ready for everybody today,” said Bushey, as she stood in the atrium area buzzing with activity.

Experts say local concerns such as transportation, housing, and who’ll head the sheriff’s office the next four years, are mixing with a national backlash against Washington politics, driving people of all ages and political stripes to get involved.

“It’s all about trump in California. this has been, sort of the informal home of the resistance against the Trump administration,” said San Jose State University political scientist Garrick Percival.

He says that resistance is leading to a rise in interest among voters. From union members such as Dianna Zamora-Marroquin of the South Bay Labor Council, who says campaigning is continuing up until  the last minute.

“We are going and knocking on the doors of voters and we are also calling voters to encourage them to go out and vote,” said Zamora-Marroquin.

At San Jose State, a group of political science students from Dr. Mary Currin-Percival’s class canvased a small area of the campus to encourage students to vote, writing messages on the pavement as a precursor, they hope, to action on Election Day.

“It’s great news, particularly for democracy. We want to get more people out there, particularly young people,” said Mayor Liccardo.

Experts say the high number of young people voting this year could swing tight local issues such Measures T and V, on infrastructure and housing, or the state-wide Prop 6, dealing with road repair.