The County of Santa Clara


Adopt Resolution delegating authority to the County Executive or designee, to negotiate, execute, amend, or terminate facility use agreements for a term of up to 30 days for the rental of vote centers to host elections in Santa Clara County, following approval by County Counsel as to form and legality, and approval by the Office of the County Executive. Delegation of authority shall expire on August 1, 2024.


Department:Registrar of VotersSponsors:



There is no additional impact to the General Fund.


Approval of this action would allow the Registrar of Voters (ROV) Office to reserve facilities as vote centers for all elections beginning with the statewide primary on March 3, 2020. Currently, Board Policy, “Uses of Property Not Belonging to County,” delegates to the County Executive or designee the authority to negotiate and reserve facilities for ten (10) days or less at an amount of $7,500 or less for County use. Due to setup, pick-up, and clean-up of the facility, 4-day vote centers need to be reserved for up to eight (8) days and 11-day vote centers for up to fifteen (15) days. The 4-day vote centers are currently aligned with Board Policy, but the 11-day vote centers will exceed the County Executive’s delegation.

Reason for request of Delegation of Authority

California Elections Code Section 4005, also known as the Voter’s Choice Act, requires the county elections official to develop an Election Administration Plan through an extensive public outreach process, which among other things includes criteria for selection of locations for vote centers and an appendix that will list the location of those facilities. The Registrar of Voters held 12 public meetings to solicit input for the Election Administration Plan and will hold a public hearing to discuss the draft plan on August 30, 2019. The final Election Administration Plan must be approved by the Secretary of State.

Identifying a facility for use as a Vote Center requires additional space and technical specifications as determined by the Secretary of State, the county-specific Election Administration Plan, and state and Federal law. Facilities within Santa Clara County that meet these requirements are typically in high demand for other types of reservations from the public. A delegation of authority is needed to expedite the process of securing these facilities, although the procedures outlined in Section will be used for the 4-day vote centers. As facilities are identified, they require immediate deposit payments and a signed agreement from the County. Due to the high demand, many facilities are not flexible in waiting for a board approved signature due to other requests from the public that can make reservations without delay. Further, the Registrar of Voters expects that some facilities may pull out of agreements and a replacement Vote Center will need to be identified on a very compressed timeframe that would be facilitated by this delegation of authority.

While all agreements will still be reviewed with County Counsel for form and legality, the delegation would allow for the County Executive to sign off on all approved agreements in a timelier manner. This will allow the ROV to secure facilities without fear of losing locations to other groups.

Templates for Facility Use Agreement and Supplemental Voter Use Agreement

ROV has developed a template Facility Use Agreement for vote centers that will be provided to facilities that do not have a formal agreement for customers to complete. A template Supplemental Voter Use Agreement has also been developed for facilities that have their own agreement that they require the County to sign. This Supplemental Voter Use Agreement is an addition to any facility agreement as a form of acknowledgement and commitment to allow the ROV to use the facility as a Vote Center based on agreed upon dates and terms. These templates will form the basis for most agreements under this delegation, which will further expedite the process. However, some deviation from these templates is expected. All agreements will be reviewed by County Counsel for form and legality and will be subject to approval of the Office of the County Executive.



This action will have no/neutral impact on children and youth.


This action would provide additional time for seniors to vote. vote centers will be open for multiple days which will allow seniors more opportunity to cast their ballots


This action will have no/neutral sustainability implications.


On April 9, 2017, the Board of Supervisors approved the implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act for Santa Clara County, changing the way the County conducts its elections and providing additional opportunities for registered voters to vote by, among other improvements, providing approximately 25 vote centers that will be open for 10 days before, and including, Election Day (a total of 11 days) and another approximately 100 vote centers that will be open for three days before, and including Election Day (a total of four days).

Traditionally, facilities have been reserved for one day to serve as a polling place. With the Voter’s Choice Act, facilities would need to be reserved for multiple days, thus creating a larger commitment for the County. The larger commitment requires formal agreements to be signed due to changes in commitment expectations, days, and liability.

Board Policy states:

Uses of Property Not Belonging to County (Adopted 12-8-15)

(A) Without first having to comply with any other provision of Board Policy Chapter 5.9, the Board of Supervisors delegates to the County Executive or designees the authority to negotiate, amend, enter into and execute leases, licenses and other space use agreements or contracts for the use of facilities, space or property belonging to another if (1) the term of the agreement is ten (10) days or less, (2) the rent or fee for the use is less than $7,500, (3) the agreement is non-renewable, (4) the use serves a public purpose, (5) the department with the delegation has complied with all other applicable provisions of the Ordinance Code or law pertaining to such use, (6) an executed copy of the agreement is provided to the Director of the Facilities and Fleet Department, and (7) an off-agenda memo is sent to the Board of Supervisors with a summary and a copy of that agreement.

The current policy is applicable to all 4-day vote centers, but not applicable for any 11-day facilities.

The delegation of authority would be undertaken pursuant to Government Code Section 23530.51, which states that

(a) The board may, by ordinance or resolution, delegate to the purchasing agent or other appropriate county official, subject to any rules and regulations as it may impose, the following authority:

(1) To lease real property for use by the county or to obtain the use of real property for the county by license for a term not to exceed five years and for a rental not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) per month.

(2) To amend real property leases or licenses for improvements or alterations, or both, with a total cost not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500), provided that the amendment does not extend the term of the lease or license and that no more than two amendments, not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) each, are made within a 12-month period.

(b) Notice of intention to consummate the lease or license shall be posted in a public place for five working days prior to consummation of the lease or license. The notice shall describe the property proposed to be leased or licensed, the terms of the lease or license, and any county officer authorized to execute the lease or license.



If the delegation of authority is not approved, ROV will face many challenges to secure enough facilities to be used as Voting Centers.



The Clerk of the Board of Supervisors shall execute the Board resolution and notify Shannon Bushey, Michael Borja and Eimear Duncan in the Office of the Registrar of Voters.

Meeting History

Aug 13, 2019 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
MOVER:Cindy Chavez, Vice President
SECONDER:Susan Ellenberg, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Susan Ellenberg, S. Joseph Simitian