This process begins on May 25
May 21, 2012

Contact: Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder
Alternate: David Tom, Elections Manager

(Redwood City, CA) As the voting period for the June 5 Presidential Primary Election closes in just 16 days, the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will begin opening and processing returned Vote by Mail ballots at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 25, at the Elections Office at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo.  The public is invited to observe this process. This processing will continue on a daily basis up to and including Election Day.

“This is a very exciting time to visit,” stated Mark Church, San Mateo County’s Chief Elections Officer and Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder.  “Right now, nearly every functional team responsible for election administration is fully engaged.  We are filling requests for Vote by Mail packets, training election officers and field support staff and packing voting equipment and supplies for 2012 polling places.  We are also verifying signatures on voted mail ballots, and we are processing new voter registrations mailed on or before May 21,” Mr. Church explained.

Beginning seven business days prior to an election day, state law allows election officials to open the return envelopes containing voted mail ballots, after verifying each voter’s qualification and signature on the outside of the envelopes.  During this period, only two processes may be executed.  First, the envelope may be opened and the ballot may be separated from it.  Secondly, the ballot may be digitally scanned, capturing the voting marks into the scanning system’s digital memory.  However, voting marks may not be tabulated (counted) or reported until after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, which is the deadline for physical receipt of voted mail ballots.

The tabulation results from the mail ballots that will be scanned during this period will be reported to the public at 8:05 p.m. on Election Day, as the first report of the evening’s series of reports of semi-official results that will be issued every half hour, accumulating results from polling places until every precinct is accounted for.  Mail ballots dropped off at a polling place on Election Day will be counted during the Official Canvass which begins after the polls close and continues for up to 28 days until completion of the required auditing and certification process.

56% (189,628) of San Mateo County’s voters routinely prefer to vote by mail.  This large pool of potential voters and the seven-day head start on mail ballot processing yields a substantial first report of voting results on Election Night.

After May 29, all requests to vote by mail must be made in person at the Elections Office at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo or at the Office of the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder at 555 County Center, First Floor, in Redwood City.  The hours for the two offices are as follows:

May 7 to June 4, weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays,May 26 and June 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
June 5 (Election Day) from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Observers of this initial phase of Vote by Mail processing should plan to arrive at the Elections Office no sooner than 9:00 a.m. on Friday, May 25.  Processing will continue daily until every signature-verified mail ballot that was received prior to Election Day has been processed for tabulation on Election Night.

Persons interested in observing this or any other election process should make prior arrangements by contacting Narda Barrientos, Elections Supervisor, by phone at 650.312.5365 or by e-mail to  For driving directions or other information about the election, visit the official website at

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

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