August 17, 2021

Contact: Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder
Alternate: Jim Irizarry, Asst. Chief Elections Officer & Asst. Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

(Redwood City, CA) Beginning Thursday, August 19, authorized staff of the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will begin opening and processing returned Vote by Mail ballots for the September 14, 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election.

Election officials may open the return envelopes containing voted mail ballots beginning 29 business days before Election Day. Operating hours for opening and processing will be daily, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., or when all ballots are processed for the day until the Official Canvass is complete.

For each ballot, an election official will compare the voter’s signature on the outside of the envelope to the signature on the voter’s original registration application or other updated signatures on file.

The ballot is separated from the envelope to preserve secrecy. The envelope is saved for the mandatory retention period, and the ballot is digitally scanned. The tabulation of the scanned ballots will not be reported until the close of voting at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Those interested in observing the process may come to the Registration & Elections Division office at 40 Tower Road, San Mateo, at any time or make prior arrangements by contacting Elections Supervisor Michael Lui at 650.312.5238 or Observers will receive a copy of the Election Observer Program Guidelines, which specifies observer rights, responsibilities and limitations, and a copy of the Vote by Mail Processing Procedures.

Registered voters may use the “My Election Info” link at or Where’s My Ballot to verify when ballot materials were mailed and when the Registration & Elections Division received their voted ballot.

The last day for registered voters to request a ballot to be mailed to them for the September 14, 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election is Tuesday, September 7, 2021.
Voted mail ballots can be returned in one of the following ways:

  • Mail your ballot in the POSTAGE-PAID ENVELOPE. Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, September 14, 2021, and received by the Registration & Elections Division no later than Tuesday, September 21, 2021;
  • Drop off your ballot at any Official Ballot Drop Box located throughout the county; or
  • Drop off your ballot at any Vote Center daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. before Election Day and from 7 a.m. to on Election Day.

A full list of Vote Center locations can be found online at

California Gubernatorial Recall Election Updates

The most comprehensive resource for San Mateo County election information is which is updated frequently as Election Day approaches. For more information on voting services available for the September 14, 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election, please call or text 650.312.5222, visit or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @smcvote.

The Registration & Elections Division also offers a toll-free hotline, 888.SMC.VOTE (888.762.8683), to assist voters in any language.

Related Contacts

Mark Church

Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder and Chief Elections Officer
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665Get Directions

Jim Irizarry

Asst. Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder & Asst. Chief Elections Officer
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665Get Directions