Public Invited to Observe the Opening and Processing of Mail Ballots for the Consolidated Local Special Election
Process Begins Friday, April 22

Archive Press Release

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

Alternate: David Tom, Elections Manager

Redwood City, CA –With the all-mail Consolidated Local Special Election less than two weeks away, the San Mateo County Elections Office will begin the opening and processing of returned Vote by Mail ballots on April 22 and continue on a daily basis through Election Day.  This is the final step before the tally of Vote by Mail ballots can begin on election night. The public is invited to observe this process.

The processing of Vote by Mail ballots is allowed by law to begin seven (7) business days prior to an election.  Two steps are permitted:  1) Vote by Mail ballot envelopes can be opened and separated from the return envelopes; and 2) Vote by Mail ballots can be scanned and prepared for tabulation.  Votes cannot be tallied or reported until 8 p.m. on Election Day.  Ballots scanned during this period are reported in the first bulletin that is released at 8:05 p.m. on Election night. 

Observers who wish to see the process should plan to be at the Elections Office by 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 22 when the opening and processing of returned Vote by Mail ballots will begin.  This process will continue everyday until every eligible Vote by Mail ballot received before Election Day is processed.  Vote by Mail ballots dropped off at the city halls, the Elections Office at 40 Tower Road and the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office on Election Day will be counted during the Official Canvass, which begins after the polls close and continues for 28 days while the election results are audited before certification.  

“By opening the Vote by Mail ballot envelopes and preparing them for the tally, we are able to provide timely and accurate returns on Election Night,” explained San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer Mark Church.  “To date, 41,792 or 12 percent of the 342,500 registered voters in the county have returned their ballots.”  

Anyone interested in observing this process should contact Elections Supervisor Narda Barrientos at (650) 312-5365 or to arrange a visit.  Staff will be assigned to those visiting to make sure that a full understanding of the process is provided and all questions are answered.

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