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electionlineWeekly--March 10, 2011

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I. In Focus This Week

An election in 140 characters or less
Orange County, Calif. registrar’s office tweets its way through a special election

By Elyse Berkowitz

Just over 16,300 ballots were cast Tuesday for the San Clemente Special Municipal Election in Orange County, Calif.’s most southern city. And there were just over 60 tweets from the county about the election.



The Orange County Registrar’s office live- tweeted on Twitter from @OCRegistrar throughout the day to provide election day updates. The tweets, which began early Tuesday morning, told the story of election day from early morning coordinator arrivals to the return of the last truck of election supplies to the registrar’s office in the evening.

The tweets afforded county residents with a running commentary on how election day was progressing and gave those outside of San Clemente the opportunity to live vicariously through the election officials.

Here is a sample of @OCRegistrar’s tweets from Tuesday:

5:41 a.m.: Our coordinators will start to check in from the field via radio in 5 minutes.

6:27 a.m.: Out of 101 poll workers only one has not showed up this morning.

: We are sending a back up now.

7:00 a.m.:It's 7 a.m. Polls are open. Let the voting begin!

7:03 a.m.:Headed to an electioneering call. Report of signs on home next to poll site

7:04 a.m.:8 people in line at a residence to vote. Good to see people out voting.

7:12 a.m.:Sign problem resolved - they are well over 100 feet.

7:40 a.m.:We set up 4 poll sites with ADA equipment to accommodate disabled voters.

: First time we've used internal teams to set these up.

8:19 a.m.:Small but steady stream of voters so far.

:Biggest issue for us so far? Poll worker accidentally kicked the cord out of a voting booth.

            : Problem solved.

8:44 a.m.: As of now we have deployed 6 back up volunteers to cover no shows. Poll sites are well staffed.

Beginning at 9 a.m., live tweets included updates on polling place turnout every one to two hours.

9:04 a.m.: Best poll site with a view? Pacific Coast Church in San Clemente.

: Not only do they have great views of the Pacific but they've had 31 voters so far.

10:10 a.m.: Another electioneering call just dealt with - volunteers on both sides of the issue are passionate but it's our job to keep it fair.

11:13 a.m.: We just received 279 vote-by-mail ballots in today's mail. We will be opening shortly.

3:01 p.m.: We are conducting extensive equipment surveys in San Clemente today. Overall performance is very good.

7:14 p.m.: As of 7:00 pm the polling place turnout for San Clemente is 10.58%. The next update will be at 8:00 pm.

At 8:05 p.m., the registrar’s office posted the first results from vote-by-mail ballots on its website.

10:06 p.m.: 1 precinct left for our final 10:30 p.m. update.    

10:07 p.m.: Following that we will sort all election supplies including paper ballots, vote-by-mail dropped off at polls, etc.

10:33 p.m.: Last truck has arrived and our last update has been posted.