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May 20, 2014


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

Phone: 650.363.4988 Fax: 650.363.1903 E-mail:


Alternate: David Tom, Elections Division Manager
Phone: 650.312.5222 Fax: 650.312.5348 E-mail:


Public Welcome to Observe the Opening and Processing

of Vote by Mail Ballots for the June 3, 2014

Statewide Direct Primary Election

Process Begins Friday, May 23



(Redwood City, CA) On Friday, May 23, authorized staff of the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division will begin opening and processing returned Vote by Mail ballots for the June 3, 2014 Statewide Direct Primary Election. The public is invited to observe.


“This is a very exciting time to visit,” stated Mark Church, San Mateo County’s Chief Elections Officer & 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, verifying signatures on voted mail ballots, training election officers and field support staff and packing voting equipment and supplies for 210 polling places,” Church explained.


Beginning seven business days prior to 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 separated from it.  Secondly, the ballot may be digitally scanned, capturing the voting marks in 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.


In the June 3, 2014 Election, 58% (207,947) of San Mateo County’s voters prefer to vote by mail.  This large pool of potential voters and the seven working day head start on mail ballot processing yields a substantial first report of voting results on election night.


Individuals interested in observing the Vote by Mail processing should plan to arrive at the Registration & Elections Division no sooner than 8:00 a.m. on Friday, May 23.  Processing will continue daily through Election Day. 


Those interested in observing any process should make prior arrangements by contacting Meaghan Hassel Shearer, Elections Supervisor, at 650.312.5293 or