65 Provisional Ballots Discovered
Election Results Unaffected

Archive Press Release

Contact: Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

Alternate: David Tom, Elections Division Manager

(Redwood City, CA) San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Mark Church reports that sixty-five (65) provisional envelopes containing sealed ballots from the November 6, 2012 Presidential General Election were found in the Elections vault on Friday, April 12, by Elections staff.

“The provisional envelopes found did not contain a sufficient number of ballots to change the outcome of any of the contests on the ballot. Accordingly, the Presidential General Election and measures submitted to the voters stand certified as is,” said Church.

Of the 65 provisional envelopes found, only 35 contained ballots of eligible voters from 30 precincts. The remaining 30 provisional envelopes were not eligible voters either because they had already voted in the election or because they were not registered. The provisional ballots that were found came from the Redwood City Voting Center.

A preliminary review of Election night procedures determined that the provisional ballots from the Redwood City Voting Center were sealed in a Red Supply Case (RSC) and delivered to the Elections Division in San Mateo. The RSC was then placed in the security vault and the ballots were transferred to a covered bin that prevented the ballots from being seen.

“This is an unfortunate and completely unacceptable incident. There is simply no excuse for this type of error in the Elections process,” Church added.

“The importance and significance of each vote cannot be understated. It is the cornerstone of our democracy. While the misplacing of provisional ballots is a rare incident, the misplacing of even one ballot is shocking and inexcusable to me as the Chief Elections Officer. I am committed to ensuring that each and every vote cast by our citizens is accurately processed,” Church also stated.

“Proper steps will be taken to avoid incidents of this nature from ever occurring again. A thorough review of our Elections procedures is being conducted, and additional training will be provided to all Elections staff,” Church noted. 

The sixty-five (65) provisional envelopes will remain sealed in accordance with Elections Code Sections 17301 and 17302 requiring election materials to be stored for 22 months, after which they will be destroyed.

The press release is displayed in its original format. San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder & Elections website now resides at www.smcacre.org