OAKLAND -- At 10:14 a.m. Tuesday, Joanna Joseph raised her hand, took an oath and fulfilled her dream of becoming a U.S. citizen.

Then she hailed a cab and rode a dozen blocks to the Alameda County Registrar's Office where she cast her vote in her first American election since moving here from the Philippines in 2004.

"Yay," said Joseph, 31, after she handed her completed ballot to a poll worker. "I posted on Facebook it would be a bittersweet day. I thought I wouldn't be able to vote because registration ended two weeks ago."

She was wrong.

After participating in today's naturalization ceremony at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland with 1,254 other applicants naturalized from 104 countries, a friend informed her she could vote.

"It turned out to be a wonderful day," said Joseph who lives in Emeryville and works as a sales account coordinator in Berkeley.

Joseph and other Bay Area voters faced a lengthy ballot this year. In addition to presidential and congressional races, 11 state propositions will be decided, including Prop. 30, the governor's tax plan.

Gov. Jerry Brown cast his vote about 7:30 a.m. at a polling place in a fire station near his home in the Oakland hills.

The governor was greeted by about three dozen teachers and students from the Oakland Unified School District, and he thanked them for their support of Prop. 30.

"I have a sense people are ready to invest in their future, which is the kids," Brown said.


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Before he approached a booth to vote, Brown stopped to pet a Dalmatian and yellow lab inside the fire station garage. The dogs' owner, Dennis Prat, of Oakland, stood nearby casting his vote. His pets -- Emma and Lulu -- didn't mind the attention.

Andy Young, an Oakland teacher for about five years, said he showed up to support Prop. 30.

"I believe in public education, public schools are a cornerstone and we need to support them," said Young, 60, adding that two generations of his family had attended Oakland schools.

Although registrars in the East Bay said voting was running smoothly, there were a few reported glitches and complaints.

In Fremont, two polling sites were affected by a power outage shortly after 7 a.m. However, Alameda County officials said those sites reopened about an hour later and ballots cast during the outage will be scanned later.

And in Oakland, two voters reported problems. Cat Brooks, 37, of Oakland, went to her polling location at True Vine Ministries at 896 Isabella St. in West Oakland and was told she wasn't on the list.

"I have been voting at this location for three years," Brooks said.

The poll worker recognized her from past elections, she said, and told her the mix-up had been happening all morning.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald said it's something that happens regularly and his office gets about 60,000 provisional ballots per election.

Macdonald added that most polling was running smoothly throughout the county, but not as many people had showed up to vote at the courthouse as in previous presidential elections.

"Compared to four years ago, the lines are a lot shorter," he said.

Across town at Sojourner Truth Manner, 6015 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, a scanner at that polling location broke sometime during the day, according to Oakland resident Dr. Charles Cannady.

Cannady, 64, said he arrived at the polling location at 1 p.m. and learned the machine was not working.

"A poll worker took the ballots out and boxed them, then tried to insert them again but it didn't work," said Cannady. "Now they are inserting the ballots into an envelope. There are a lot of people (a couple dozen) who don't want to give them the ballot, they're just holding them. Everyone is very upset."

Early reports from precincts in Contra Costa County were that things were mostly going smoothly, according to County Clerk Steve Weir.

In Martinez, a precinct manager for a polling place was unexpectedly hospitalized Monday night, and his daughter returned the unmarked ballots in his custody to the clerk's office rather than giving them to the other polling volunteers, Weir said. Voters at the precinct were able to cast provisional ballots until the official ballots were delivered to the precinct.

In West Contra Costa County, the registrar's office fielded several calls of electioneering inside the 100-foot boundary legally mandated around all polling places.

"When we get there, he's just beyond the 100-foot mark; we take off and then he goes back in," Weir said. "It's almost like it's a game to some people."

In Oakley, a reader complained that Gehringer Elementary School, which hosts polling in its library, had a message supporting Prop. 30 on the sign at the school's entrance.

School office manager Corrine Evans said the school had taken the sign down before polling began Tuesday morning. She added that the sign was more than 100 feet from the polling place entrance, and that the sign, which claimed the school would lose over $1 million funding if the proposition fails, was "a statement of fact," not an endorsement.

Rick Rogers, superintendent of the Oakley Union Elementary School District, said the sign was fair, adding that the district has "a right to inform but not to advocate.

"If it said, 'Vote Yes on Prop. 30,' we would clearly be in the wrong," he added. "It's more than appropriate to inform people what the impact would be of a ballot measure."

Every city in the region has a host of issues and races to decide. Several town councils have seats up for grabs and in Oakland, voters will decide hotly-contested races for four City Council seats and the City Attorney's office.

Voters are expected to turn out in large numbers in this presidential election year and more than 800,000 Bay Area voters have already cast their votes by mail, including 156,000 in Contra Costa County and 176,000 in Alameda County by Friday afternoon.

California now has a record 18.2 million registered voters, up by more than 940,000 from this time four years ago.

For full coverage online, including live election night news, a look back on our coverage of all the issues, a review of this newspaper's editorial board endorsements and recommendations, election reality checks and more, visit www.insidebayarea.com

Need to know where your polling place is? Here's how you can find out:

Alameda County: http://www.acgov.org/rov/

Santa Clara County http://eservices.sccgov.org/rov/

San Mateo County https://www.shapethefuture.org/MyElectionMaterials/default.asp

San Francisco County http://sfelections.org/tools/pollsite/

Contra Costa County http://www.cocovote.us/PrecinctFinder.aspx

Marin County http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/RV/Main/PollPlaces/SmartVoter.html

Santa Cruz County http://www.votescount.com/nov12/root1106/pollplac.htm

Bay City News Service and reporters Erin Ivie, Josh Richman and Daniel M. Jimenez contributed to this story.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.