San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald’s mother, who ran a catering business in the Bay Area, had a saying.
“A good caterer is like a duck,” Rodewald recalled Monday. “On the surface, everything is smooth and calm. But underneath, she’s paddling like mad.”
That statement could easily apply to Tuesday — the Nov. 4 general election — when Rodewald hopes all the planning and preparation provides a smooth voting experience for residents throughout San Luis Obispo County.
Now, Rodewald said, it’s up to the voters to do their part: “Get out and vote.”
Rodewald said she’s hopeful that at least 60 percent of the county’s registered voters — there are 150,139 registered voters total in the county — cast a ballot.
“I think we’ll get over 50 (percent) and hopefully closer to 60 percent,” she said.
About 42,000 mail-in ballots have been returned to the Clerk-Recorder’s Office, or 44.2 percent of the approximately 95,000 sent out.
Of those, about 40,600 have been counted, with the results ready to be released after polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
But counting will continue after Tuesday as many people will return their mail-in ballots on Election Day and others will fill out provisional ballots — issued when precinct workers cannot determine the voter’s eligibility to vote in that election.
On Monday, the Clerk-Recorder’s Office hummed efficiently as full-time and temporary workers sorted though a heap of mail-in ballots and checked signatures.
Temporary paid employee Carol Martin, who started volunteering as a poll worker more than 50 years ago, was checking a stack of ballots where a voter had made a mistake and indicated a correction on his or her ballot.
“Our purpose is to make sure every vote counts,” Martin, 77, said.
She described Rodewald as “an amazing boss.”
The November election marks the final time that Rodewald, 60, will oversee an election as the county’s elected clerk-recorder. She’ll retire in January, wrapping up a 20-year run in that position.
Rodewald was elected to her first four-year term as clerk-recorder in 1994, and has run unopposed the past four elections. She started working for the county in 1981.
When asked if she enjoys Election Day, Rodewald said that she does — for the most part.
“It’s also one of the biggest sources of anxiety,” she said. But the day also gives her a chance to interact with the public more than other parts of her job, which she likes.
Retiring and leaving the Clerk-Recorder’s Office “is bittersweet,” Rodewald said. “In some ways I’m leaving earlier than I want to leave, but … I wasn’t sure if I could serve at the same energy level.”