Randomized Alphabet Drawing Scheduled for Contests on the November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election Ballot

Archive Press Release

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

Alternate: Jim Irizarry, Assistant Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

(Redwood City, CA) On Thursday, August 18th at 11 a.m., the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division and the California Secretary of State’s Office will conduct randomized alphabet drawings. “I encourage the public to observe this important process,” said Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder.

The randomized alphabet drawings serve two essential functions for the November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election. First, they determine the placement order of candidates’ names on the official ballot. Second, they assign a letter to each measure that will appear on the ballot.

The randomized alphabet drawing is a crucial phase of the official ballot development process. “A randomized alphabet helps create a level playing field,” Church explained. “If we used the standard alphabet in every election, ‘John Adams’ would always appear above ‘George Washington.’” At the drawing, election officials and interested members of the public will draw letters from a basket to determine the candidates’ name placement order and to assign the letters for each measure listed on the ballot.

“The Secretary of State’s randomized alphabet drawing determines the order for the majority of office races that will be listed on the official ballot,” Church said. “The San Mateo County drawing determines the order of candidate names for the State Senate and Assembly District races for districts that cross county lines.” In addition, the County drawing will assign the letters to the local measures submitted to the voters.

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. “Two County residents living in different Assembly Districts will see different names listed first for federal office,” said Church. “This rotation helps to ensure election results are not influenced by the placement order of candidate names,” he added.

The public is encouraged to observe the drawing process at the Registration & Elections Division, 40 Tower Road, San Mateo. For more information about the drawing, please contact Filing Officer Michael Lui at 650.312.5238 or mlui@smcare.org.

For more information regarding the November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election, please call 650.312.5222, visit www.shapethefuture.org or follow us on Twitter @smcvote.

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