Public invited to watch vote-processing


Staff of the San Mateo County Elections Office will start opening and processing vote-by-mail ballots for the Nov. 8 election on Friday, Oct. 28. The public is invited to observe.

The staff verifyies signatures on the ballots and processes new voter registrations submitted before the Oct. 24 deadline, said Mark Church, chief elections officer.

Ballots can be digitally scanned, capturing the voting marks into the scanning system's digital memory. However, the marks may not be counted or reported until after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, Mr. Church said.

The results from mailed ballots scanned during this period will be reported to the public at 8:05 p.m. on Election Day, he said. Then, results from polling places will be reported during the evening as they come in and until every precinct is accounted for.

Mail ballots dropped off at a polling place on Election Day will be counted during the "official canvass" period, which begins after the polls close and continues for up to 28 days until the auditing and certification process is complete.

More than half -- 53 percent (178,207) -- of San Mateo County's voters routinely vote by mail, Mr. Church said.

Nov. 1 is the deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot to be delivered by mail. This cut-off date ensures enough time for outbound and return postal deliveries between the Elections Office and the voter.

After Nov. 1, voters may obtain a ballot in person at the two Elections Office sites, at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo (weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and at 555 County Center, First Floor, in Redwood City (weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Members of the public who wish to observe this initial phase of vote-by-mail processing are asked to arrive at the Elections Office no sooner than 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28. Processing will continue daily until every signature-verified mail ballot that was received before Election Day has been processed for tabulation on Election Night.

Those who want to observe this or any other election process are asked to make prior arrangements by contacting Elections Supervisor Narda Barrientos by phone at (650) 312-5365 or by email

For driving directions or other information about the election, visit the official website at

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