Public Welcome to Observe the Opening and Processing of Vote by Mail Ballots for the November 5, 2013 Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election Process Begins Friday, October 25

Archive Press Release

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

Alternate: David Tom, Elections Division Manager

(Redwood City, CA) On Friday, October 25, authorized staff of the Registration & Elections Division will begin opening and processing returned Vote by Mail ballots for the November 5, 2013 Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election. The public is invited to observe.

“This is a very exciting time to visit,” stated Mark Church, San Mateo County’s Chief Elections Officer and Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. “Right now, nearly every functional team responsible for election administration is fully engaged. We are filling requests for Vote by Mail packets, verifying signatures on voted mail ballots, training election officers and field support staff and packing voting equipment and supplies for 211 polling places,” Church explained.

Beginning seven business days prior to Election Day, state law allows election officials to open the return envelopes containing voted mail ballots, after verifying each voter’s qualification and signature on the outside of the envelopes. During this period, only two processes may be executed. First, the envelope may be opened and the ballot may be separated from it.  Secondly, the ballot may be digitally scanned, capturing the voting marks into the scanning system’s digital memory.  However, voting marks may not be tabulated (counted) or reported until after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, which is the deadline for physical receipt of voted mail ballots.

58.1% (208,817) of San Mateo County’s voters prefer vote by mail for this November 5, 2013 election. 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 process should plan to arrive at the Registration and Elections Division no sooner than 8:00 a.m. on Friday, October 25. 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 650.312.5222 or

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