Public Welcome to Observe the Opening and Processing of Vote by Mail Ballots for the June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election Process Begins Monday, May 21

New Site Press Release

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 Monday, May 21, authorized staff of the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will open and process returned Vote by Mail ballots for the June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election.

“With the ease and convenience of voting by mail under the California Voter’s Choice Act, there will be a substantial increase in Vote by Mail Ballots processed at Elections Central,” said Chief Elections Officer Mark Church. The public is invited to visit the Registration and Elections Division, located at 40 Tower Road, San Mateo, to observe the opening and processing of these ballots,” added Church.

Election officials may open the return envelopes containing voted mail ballots beginning ten (10) business days before Election Day. Opening and processing will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 21. This process will continue daily thereafter from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or until all ballots are processed for the day through the Official Canvass.

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

The ballot is separated from the return envelope to preserve secrecy. The return envelope is saved for the mandatory retention period and the ballot is digitally scanned. The voting marks captured in the scanning system’s memory will not be tabulated (counted) or 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, 40 Tower Road, San Mateo at any time or make prior arrangements by contacting Elections Supervisor Lupe Marin at 650.312.5389 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 Access my Election Materials/View My Voter Information Pamphlet/Track My Ballot link under the “Voting” section on 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 June Statewide Direct Primary Election is Tuesday, May 29. Voted mail ballots can be returned in one of the following ways:

  • Mail your ballot in the postage-paid return envelope. Ballots must be postmarked by June 5 and received by the Registration & Elections Division no later than June 8.
  • Drop off your ballot at any one of the four 24-hour Ballot Drop-off Box Locations by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Drop off your ballot at any City/Town Hall, or Burlingame, East Palo Alto or Half Moon Bay libraries during business hours on or before Election Day.
  • Drop off your ballot at one of the county’s 39 Vote Centers during business hours before Election Day or from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day

New Election Model for June 5, 2018
The June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election is the first election conducted under the California Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA will implement an All-Mailed Ballot/Vote Center election model, with every registered voter receiving a Vote by Mail Ballot through the mail. The voted ballot may be returned by mail, dropped off at any Vote Center or Ballot Drop-off Box located throughout the county. Return postage is pre-paid. 

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

For more information on 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