Public Welcome to Observe the Opening & Processing of Vote by Mail Ballots for November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election
Process Begins Tuesday, October 25

Archive Press Release

Contact: Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

Alternate: David Tom, Interim Elections Division Manager

(Redwood City, CA) On Tuesday, October 25, authorized staff of the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will open and process returned Vote by Mail ballots for the November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election.

“Complex preparations are currently underway at the Registration & Elections Division for the opening and processing of the Vote by Mail ballots beginning next Tuesday,” announced Mark Church, San Mateo County’s Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. “Members of the public are invited to view this fascinating process and other on-site elections activities during this exciting time,” he added. 

Election officials may open the return envelopes containing voted mail ballots beginning ten (10) business days before Election Day. This process will continue daily through the Official Canvass.

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 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 Melinda Dubroff at 650.312.5390 or Observers will receive a copy of our Election Observer Program Guidelines which specify observer rights, responsibilities and limitations, and a copy of the Vote by Mail processing procedures.

Registered voters may use the Check My Registration/Access my Election Materials/View My Voter Information Pamphlet/Track My Ballot link under the “Voters” 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 November General Election is Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Voted mail ballots can only be accepted if they are postmarked on or before Election Day, November 8, and received by Monday, November 14, 2016. Voters may also deliver their voted ballots in person to the Registration & Elections Division’s 24-hour ballot drop box, or to any polling place or Voting Center, on November 8. The drop box, polling places, and Voting Centers close at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

For more information on the November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election, please call 650.312.5222, visit or follow @smcvote on Twitter.

The press release is displayed in its original format. San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder & Elections website now resides at