Public Welcome to Watch as Elections Division Opens and Processes Vote by Mail Ballots for the November 6 Presidential General Election
This process begins on October 26

Archive Press Release

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

Alternate: David Tom, Deputy Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

(Redwood City, CA)As the voting period for the November Presidential General Election closes in just 16 days, the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will begin opening and processing returned Vote by Mail ballots at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Friday, October 26, at the Elections Office at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo.  The public is invited to observe this process. This processing will continue daily until all signature-verified Vote by Mail ballots are processed.

“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, training election officers and field support staff and packing voting equipment and supplies for 343 precincts.  We are verifying signatures on voted mail ballots, and we are processing new voter registrations,” Church explained.

Beginning seven business days prior to an 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.

55.6% (192,955) of San Mateo County’s voters routinely prefer to vote by mail.  This large pool of potential voters and the seven-day head start on mail ballot processing yields a substantial first report of voting results on Election Night.

Observers of this initial phase of Vote by Mail processing should plan to arrive at the Elections Office no sooner than 8:00 a.m. on Friday, October 26.  Processing will continue daily through election day.  

Persons interested in observing a specific process should make prior arrangements by contacting Narda Barrientos, Elections Supervisor, by phone at (650) 312-5222 or by e-mail to  For driving directions or other information about the election, visit the official website at

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