March 9, 2018

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

(Redwood City, CA) On Thursday, March 15th at 11 a.m., the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will conduct randomized alphabet drawings to determine the order in which candidates’ names will appear on the ballot for the June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election.  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 for submission to the voters in compliance with Election Code section 13116.

“The randomized alphabet drawing is an essential phase of the official ballot development process that levels the playing field for all candidates,” said Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder.  Election staff will draw letters in a lottery-style drawing with witnesses from the media and interested members of the public present.  “I encourage the public to observe this entire process at our office at 40 Tower Road, San Mateo,” Church added.

The Secretary of State’s randomized alphabet drawing, also to be held on March 15th, will decide the order for most contests 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.

To further safeguard fairness, California Election Code section 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.

California Government Code section 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 Regional Measure 3, also known as RM 3, which encompasses nine Bay Area counties.  The “Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan” will be known as Measure 3 throughout the area in order to avoid confusion with other measures.

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

For more information about the drawing, please contact Candidate Filing Officer Michelle Yue at 650.312.5293 or

New Election Model for June 5, 2018
The June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election will be the first election conducted under the California Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA will implement an All-Mailed Ballot/Vote Center model, with every registered voter receiving a Vote-by-Mail Ballot through the mail. The Vote-by-Mail Ballot may be returned by mail, dropped off at any Vote Center or Special Ballot Drop Boxes located throughout the county. Return postage will be prepaid for those voters wishing to return their ballots through USPS. 

Vote Centers will replace traditional polling places and will be open for voting throughout the early voting period. Vote Centers will be providing expanded voter services such as voter registration, multilingual assistance, and disabled access voting options. 

For more information on candidate filing, the California Voter’s Choice Act and the new All-Mailed Ballot/Vote Center election model, please call 650.312.5222, visit or follow us on Twitter @smcvote

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