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All-mail-in ballot a winner In San Mateo County vote
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REDWOOD CITY  (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area officials say they’re happy with the first test of an all-mail ballot election.

Election officials in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco, sent out mail-in ballots to all 354,000 registered voters ahead of local elections last Tuesday. County Clerk Mark Church told the San Francisco Chronicle that the mail-in vote ran efficiently. Officials think about 29 percent of voters cast ballots.

Last year, state lawmakers made San Mateo County and rural Yolo County the sites of a three-year trial of mail-in elections.

San Mateo County officials also opened 32 polling places for the total of 2,133 voters who chose to cast ballots in person.

County officials say they were able to cut the number of polling places from the usual 209 and reduce the ranks of specially hired election workers from 1,700 to about 150.

San Mateo County officials haven’t yet figured out how much money they saved, but said cost isn’t the only argument for the move to all-mail-in ballots.

“It’s becoming increasingly hard to recruit qualified people to work at the polls on election day,” Church said. “Voting by mail already is the way of the future.”

Next year’s presidential primary and general election will be exempted from the pilot program.