San Mateo County Elections Division Welcomes Department of Justice

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

The Department of Justice announced today that San Mateo County will be among 35 jurisdictions in 19 states to be visited by observers from the Department’s Civil Rights Division. The two counties selected in California, San Mateo County and Sacramento County, are the largest two of the five counties which implemented the California Voter’s Choice Act this year. The Voter’s Choice Act authorizes certain counties to conduct All-Mailed Ballot – Vote Center Elections with ballot drop-off locations.

The Department of Justice routinely conducts field audits of elections nationwide on Election Day. Such audits are conducted to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act which, among other things, protects the right to vote for racial minorities and requires jurisdictions containing significant language minority populations to provide bilingual ballots and other election materials.

Department of Justice observers met today with Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Mark Church and were provided with information and materials regarding the County’s extensive, multi-lingual voter outreach efforts and multilingual services, which are all included in the County’s Voter Education and Outreach Plan.

“San Mateo County is proud to be a leader in increasing access to democracy,” said Mr. Church. “That includes mailing every registered voter a postage-paid ballot, accessible Vote Centers open for up to thirty days, and multi-lingual ballots and assistance available at all Vote Centers.”

The San Mateo County Language Accessibility Advisory Committee, established by the Chief Elections Officer in 2017, provides advice and assistance regarding language accessibility issues for minority communities. In anticipation of the November 6 Statewide General Election, the Registration & Elections Division held fourteen events for speakers of minority languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. Every outreach event hosted by the Registration & Elections Division includes staff fluent in Spanish and Chinese.

“We welcome observers to visit our office or any of our Vote Centers, at any time during the election process,” said Mr. Church. “We have an obligation to ensure that every citizen is provided the opportunity to exercise his or her right to vote, and we take that obligation seriously.”