Randomized Alphabet Drawing Scheduled for Contests on the June 7, 2016 Presidential Primary Election Ballot

Archive Press Release

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

Alternate: David Tom, Elections Division Manager

(Redwood City, CA) On Thursday, March 17th at 11 a.m., the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division and the Secretary of State’s Office will conduct randomized alphabet drawings. The randomized alphabet drawings determine the order of candidates’ names on the ballot and assign a letter to each measure that will appear on the ballot for the June 7, 2016 Presidential Primary Election. 

“The randomized alphabet drawing is an essential and impartial component of the creation of the official ballot,” said Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. Election staff and interested members of the public will draw letters out of a basket to determine the letter to be assigned to identify each measure and the order of candidates’ names on the ballot. 

“The Secretary of State’s randomized alphabet drawing will decide the order for most office races on the Official Ballot. The San Mateo County drawing determines the order of candidate names for the State Senate and Assembly District races where the district is not completely within the county,” stated Church.

To further safeguard fairness, California Election Code (EC§ 13111) calls for the “rotation” of the candidate names throughout the county for many offices on the official ballot. “If two residents living in different Assembly Districts compare their ballots, they will see different names listed first for a federal office,” said Church. “This helps ensure election outcomes are not influenced by placement of candidate names,” he added

In addition to selecting the letters for a randomized alphabet for candidates, San Mateo County will randomly select the letters to be assigned to the local measures submitted to the voters. (EC§ 13116)

California Government Code (GC§ 66704.05) calls for county elections officials to agree to use the same letter of the alphabet when two or more counties are voting on the same measure. This is the case with The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, which encompasses 9 Bay Area counties. The “Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure” will be known as Measure AA throughout the area in order to avoid confusion with other measures.

“I encourage the public to observe this entire process at our office at 40 Tower Road, San Mateo,” Church added.

Information regarding candidates and the local measures is available on the Registration & Elections Division website at www.shapethefuture.org.

For more information about the drawing, please contact Filing Officer Michael Lui at 650.312.5238 or mlui@smcare.org.

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