Public Welcome to Observe the Opening and Processing of Vote by Mail Ballots for the November 4, 2014 Statewide General Election Process Begins Friday, October 24

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, announced that Friday, October 24 is the first day elections staff are authorized to open and process returned Vote by Mail ballots for the November 4, 2014 Statewide General Election.

“I encourage members of the public to visit the Registration & Elections Division during this exciting time,” stated Church. “With the November election just two weeks away, staff is systematically processing Vote by Mail requests, verifying signatures on returned ballots, training Election Day staff and organizing polling place supplies,” Church added. 

State law allows election officials to open the return envelopes containing voted mail ballots beginning seven business days prior to Election Day.  Per State law, for each ballot, an elections official will compare the voter’s signature on the outside of the envelope to the signature on the voter’s original registration application to ensure the signatures match.  To preserve secrecy, the ballot is then separated from the envelope.  Next, the ballot will be digitally scanned, capturing the voting marks in the scanning system’s memory.  Voting marks will not be tabulated (counted) or reported until after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

In the November 4, 2014 Election, 59% of San Mateo County’s voters, representing 206,598 voters, have chosen to vote by mail.  This large pool of potential voters and the seven working day head start on mail ballot processing yields a substantial first report of voting results on election night.

Individuals interested in observing the Vote by Mail processing should plan to arrive at the Registration & Elections Division no sooner than 8:00 a.m. on Friday, October 24.  Processing will continue daily through Election Day. 

Those interested in observing any process should make prior arrangements by contacting Meaghan Hassel Shearer, Elections Supervisor, at 650.312.5293 or

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