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October 2, 2012

Contact: Shannan Velayas
(916) 653-6575

Long-Time Santa Clara County Poll
Workers Honored by Secretary of State Bowen

SACRAMENTO - Rita Chavez Medina and Helen Garza, who have staffed the polls during elections in the last 60 and 52 years respectively, were recognized today by Secretary of State Debra Bowen for their extraordinary contributions to the people of Santa Clara County. In praising their dedication, Secretary Bowen called for more people to join Rita and Helen at the polls this November.

"Election after election, Rita and Helen have been an indispensable part of Santa Clara County elections, and I can't thank them enough for their dedication," said Secretary Bowen, California's chief elections official. "Veteran poll workers can't do it alone, so I hope more voters and high school students in Santa Clara County join Helen and Rita at the polls on Election Day!"

"We are honored to have these two ladies serve Santa Clara County for such a long time. Their contribution to the election process, in Santa Clara County, is invaluable. They are not doing this for the money, they are doing it for the love of their county, state, and country," added Barry Garner, County Registrar of Voters.

Each statewide election requires a one-day army of 100,000 poll workers in nearly 22,000 polling places across California. Poll workers help to secure ballots, educate voters about their rights, ensure accessibility for voters with disabilities, and more. A poll worker is paid an average of $100 for the day's work, though rates vary among counties. Interested people may call their county elections offices to sign up or visit for more information.

To serve as a poll worker, a person must be a registered voter or a high-school student in good standing who is a United States citizen, at least 16 years old, and has a minimum 2.5 grade-point average.

The last day to register to vote in the November 6 General Election is October 22. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is October 30.

Keep up with the latest California election news and trivia by following @CASOSvote on Twitter. To sign up for ballot measure updates via email, RSS feed or Twitter, go to