Elections

Overview

Elections
Message from Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

Mark Church Welcome to the San Mateo County Elections website.

I am honored and privileged to serve as your Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. I am committed to ensuring that our office continues its tradition of excellence and operates at a maximum level of efficiency and productivity.

Please use this website for easy access to the information and services that our office provides to the citizens of San Mateo County. I hope you find it a useful resource for election information.

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Ballot Signature Verification Statements and Instructions

Unsigned Ballot Statement

If you did not sign the return envelope as required by California Election Code §3011, you will be mailed the Unsigned Ballot Statement form.

Please read the instructions before you fill out this form. Return this form by 5 p.m. on July 8, 2020.

未簽名選票聲明
Declaración de Boleta Electoral No Firmada

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San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division Debuts New Post-Election Audit
The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will be conducting a pilot risk-limiting audit for the June 23, 2020 County Service Area No. 1 Special Mail Ballot Election

What is a risk-limiting audit?

A risk-limiting audit (RLA) is a newly approved post-election audit procedure meant to guarantee the accuracy of the election outcome, and is a necessary step in the canvassing of an election, a requirement to certify election results. Currently, most post-election audits in California have been conducted using the one percent manual tally, which involves choosing a random sampling of one percent of all precincts from Vote Centers and one percent of batches of Vote by Mail ballots.

The risk-limiting audit differs in that its randomly selected ballots come from all ballots cast in the election regardless of precinct or batch. The physical ballots are then retrieved from their secure storage containers and inspected by an independent audit board, and their results are compared to the voting system’s cast vote records.

The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will be conducting a pilot risk-limiting audit for the June 23, 2020 County Service Area No. 1 Special Mail Ballot Election. The public is welcome to attend both the rolling of the dice to generate the random seed as well as attend to observe the audit itself.

The June 23 RLA Pilot Press Release will be posted in June.

Random Seed

This 20-digit number is generated through a dice roll using three ten-sided dice and matching the resulting three numbers to a corresponding number in the sequence, for the purposes of this 20-digit number, that will be Red-White-Blue-R-W-B-R-W-B-R-W-B-R-W-B-R-W-B-R-W, or 6 rolls of three dice, and the final roll consisting of two dice.

Audit Boards

Audit boards will consist of elections staff who must sign an oath of letter of intent. “At all times, at least one member shall serve as an observer of the audit and may not make determinations of voter choices. At least two members, excluding the observer, shall make determinations of voter choices for each ballot card examined by the audit board. Audit board members may rotate roles.”

This process differs from the one percent manual tally in that the goal is not to match the number of votes for each candidate in the entire batch, rather, the goal is to interpret the votes on each ballot and compare this to the cast vote record for that particular ballot. In any instance wherein a ballot has been duplicated, such as an overseas or military voter’s ballot or ballot marked with ink not recognized by the ballot scanner, the original ballot will be inspected by the audit board rather than the duplicated ballot.

If there is a discrepancy between the CVR and the selected ballot, meaning that the voting system’s tabulation of the ballot differs from the actual markings on the ballot (Elections Code section 15154), audit boards will determine whether the difference is neutral, an understatement, or an overstatement, depending on the effect of changing the voting system interpretation of the ballot to match the hand interpretation. If changing the interpretation of a ballot according to the voting system to make it match the human interpretation of the ballot would widen every pairwise margin in every contest under audit, that ballot has an understatement. Understatements do not call the outcome into question. If changing the interpretation according to the voting system to match the human interpretation would narrow any pairwise margin in any contest under audit, the ballot has an overstatement. If enough ballots have overstatements, the outcome could be wrong.

To determine an overstatement or understatement, the audit board needs to know the final outcome of the contest within the county, meaning that, if Proposition 2 is being audited, the audit board needs to know the outcome of the contest.

Here is an example of how the audit boards shall proceed:

The results of Proposition 2 were:

Yes 57.0% 570

No 43.0% 430

The audit board is given these results, as well as the CVR and the ballots that they are required to audit.

Neutral

Their first ballot CVR states that the ballot should read Yes: 1 No: 0.

They interpret this ballot, and the markings match the CVR. This is neutral, meaning that vote totals and margin do not change. There is neither an overstatement nor an understatement.

Overstatement

If the paper ballot doesn’t match the CVR and the change in vote narrows the margin of victory, it is an overstatement of the winner of that contest.

On the next ballot, the CVR claims that this should be Yes: 1 No: 0.

However, when interpreting this ballot, the audit board finds that the ballot is in fact a “no” vote instead of a “yes” vote. The ballot was incorrectly tallied as a “yes” vote, so a yes vote should be taken away from the totals leaving Yes (56.9% 569) and No (43.1% 431). It is an overstatement because it was incorrectly tabulated in favor of the winner of the contest and as a result was an overstatement of that outcome.

Understatement

When a discrepancy occurs between the CVR and the actual ballot that widens the margin of victory, that is an understatement.

On the next ballot, the CVR claims that this should be Yes: 0 No: 1.

But the audit board finds that the ballot does not match the CVR, and in fact the ballot is a “yes” vote rather than a “no” vote, bringing the new total to be Yes (57% 570) and No (43% 430).

Overvotes

Overstatement and understatement should not be confused with an undervote and overvote, although there might be overlaps with these terms. When a ballot is determined to be an overvote and it was incorrectly tabulated, that ballot can no longer be counted, which reduces the denominator, or total number of ballots cast in the contest.

The CVR claims that this should be Yes: 1 No: 0.

But the audit board finds that the ballot does not match the CVR, and in fact the ballot has clear markings for both “yes” and “no”, bringing the new total to be Yes (56.96% 569) and No (43.04% 430). In this instance, the overvote is both an overstatement as well as an overvote.

Observers

Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend both the dice roll and the audit. The risk-limiting audit and the dice roll will be held at the Registration & Elections Division at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo. Please call 650.312.5222 or email registrar@smcacre.org if you wish to observe the audit or be a part of the process of generating the random seed. Follow @smcvote on Twitter for updates.

Ballot Manifest

The ballot manifest is a log kept independently of the voting system that tracks the storage containers of all ballots cast in an election. This log is manually kept by Elections staff in keeping with California Elections Code.

The ballot manifest will be posted following the audit in July.

RLA Tool

An online software utility used by the Secretary of State and local Election Officials to conduct the risk-limiting audit. This was developed by Philip Stark and can be found here.

RLA Results

Results will be posted in July.

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November 3, 2020 Election Calendar
Presidential General Election

November 3, 2020 Election Calendar

NOTE: The information below is as accurate as possible, but not every requirement or exception is listed. In the event of a conflict, the date set by statute controls over dates listed below. The Registration & Elections Division reserves the right to update this calendar as necessary.

Days Prior to Election Date Action Taken
148 Monday, June 8, 2020 By this date the Governor shall issue a proclamation calling the election and shall state the time of the election and offices to be filled.
EC §12000
131 Thursday, June 25, 2020 Last day for a statewide initiative measure, constitutional amendment, bond measure or other legislative measure to qualify for the Presidential General Election ballot on November 3, 2020.
EC §9040; Cal. Const. Art. II §8(c)
130 Friday, June 26, 2020 (School or Special District Vacancy) Last day for the governing body of a local jurisdiction to call an election on November 3, 2020 to fill a vacancy.
GC §1780(e); ED §5091(b)
127

113
Monday, June 9, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020
Between these dates, a city shall publish its Notice of Election, stating the offices to be filled and time of election. The City Elections Official shall consolidate the Notice of Election and the Notice of City Measures into one notice if the measure was placed on the ballot prior to the Notice of Election’s publication.
EC §§12101, 12111
125 Wednesday, July 1, 2020 Last day for special districts governed by the Uniform District Election Law to notify County Elections Official of offices to be filled, specifying which offices, if any, are for the balance of an unexpired term, decisions regarding payment of candidate statements, and a map showing the boundaries of the district and the boundaries of the divisions of the district, if any, within that county and a statement indicating in which divisions a director is to be elected and whether any elective officer is to be elected at large.
EC §§10509, 10522
123 Friday, July 3, 2020 Last day for a school district governing board to deliver a resolution (the “specifications of the election order”) to the County Superintendent of Schools and the County Elections Official calling for an election of governing board members.
ED §5322
120 Monday, July 6, 2020 Last day for the County Superintendent of Schools to deliver an official order and formal notice of election of school district board members to the County Elections Official.
ED §5325(b)
120

90
Monday, July 6, 2020

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Between these dates, the County Elections Official shall publish the Notice of Election (date of election, identification of offices to be filled, statement of required qualifications, where Nomination Documents are available, deadline for filing required forms, statement regarding appointment, the hours of opening and closing of the polls, and related information). The notice of central counting place may be combined with this notice. The County Elections Official shall also issue a press release indicating offices to be filled and a telephone contact number for related information.
EC §§10242, 12109, 12112; GC §6061; ED §5363
118 Wednesday, July 8, 2020 First Candidate Seminar to be held at 10 a.m. at the Registration & Elections Division, 40 Tower Road, San Mateo. First Data Seminar to be held immediately following the end of the Candidate Seminar at the same location. (Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the seminars may be held virtually.)
114 Sunday, July 12, 2020 (City Vacancy) For a vacancy in a city election office, this is the last day for the city council to call a special election for November 3, 2020 to fill the vacancy. The City shall immediately publish the Notice of Election. (NOTE: Because the deadline E-114 falls on a Sunday, the safest option is for the City to take this action by E-116, Friday, July 10, 2020)
EC §§12101(b); GC §36512(b)
113

88
Monday, July 13, 2020

Friday, August 7, 2020
Between these dates is the candidate filing period. Nomination Papers and Declarations of Candidacy are available during this time. Paperwork must be received by the close of business on August 7, 2020. City candidates shall file paperwork with their City Clerk’s office and should check the business hours of their City Clerk’s office; all other candidates shall file with the County Elections Official by 5 p.m. on August 7, 2020. Local candidates may purchase space for a Candidate Statement in the County Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet. The Candidate Statement may be withdrawn but not changed during this period and until 5 p.m. of the next working day (Monday, August 10, 2020) after the close of the nomination period.
EC §§10220, 10224, 10407, 10510, 10603, 13107, 13307
113

88
Monday, July 13, 2020

Friday, August 7, 2020
Between these dates, candidates for U.S. House of Representative, State Senate and Assembly may purchase space for a 250-word Candidate Statement in the County Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet. State Senate and Assembly candidates may do so only if they have agreed to accept the voluntary expenditure limits on their Candidate Intention Statement (Form 501).
EC §§13307, 13307.5; GC §85601(c)
103 Thursday, July 23, 2020 Second Candidate Seminar to be held at 2 p.m. at the Registration & Elections Division, 40 Tower Road, San Mateo. Second Data Seminar to be held immediately following the end of the Candidate Seminar at the same location. (Due to the Covid- 19 pandemic, the seminars may be held virtually.)
98 Tuesday, July 28, 2020 Last day that any candidate may request in writing a different ballot designation than was used at the primary election. The written request shall be accompanied by a Ballot Designation Worksheet.
EC §13107(h)
Fixed Date Friday, July 31, 2020 Except as provided in GC §84200 paragraphs (1), (2) and (3), elected officials, candidates and committees pursuant to subdivision (a) of GC §82013 and slate mailer organizations shall file semiannual statements no later than this date for the period ending June 30, 2020.
GC §§82013, 84200, 84218
90

0
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Tuesday, November 3, 2020
During this period, a contribution, including a loan, that totals in the aggregate $1,000 or more per source made to or received by a candidate or committee must be reported within 24 hours.
GC §§82036, 84203