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Election Observers Welcome

We pride ourselves on running accurate, secure, transparent, and accessible elections. If you would like to come and observe any of our elections processes for the June 5, 2018 election, please let us know. Below are the activities and approximate timeframes: 

  • Vote-by-Mail Ballot Mailings – We have contracted with K&H to print and mail ballots to our 85,617 permanent vote-by-mail voters and our additional 1,692 voters who have been assigned to an all mail ballot precinct. Ballots will be mailed from the San Jose Post Office on Monday, May 7, 2018.
    Mailing and emailing of our military and overseas voter ballots to 1,421 voters began on April 6 which was 60 days before the June election and the first day allowed by law to mail ballots to military and overseas voters. All currently registered military and overseas voters’ ballots were sent by Saturday, April 21.
    When vote-by-mail ballots are returned, ballots will be keyed in as received and signatures verified. If signatures do not compare or a signature is missing, efforts will be made to contact the voter. Location: County Clerk/Elections Department, 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz.
  • Vote-by-Mail Ballot Processing – Begins Monday, May 21, at 8am. Elections Code §15101 allows election officials to begin processing vote-by-mail ballots 10 business days prior to the election. Activities include: opening ballot envelopes, removing ballots, duplicating damaged ballots, and preparing the ballots to be counted. Location: County Clerk/Elections Department, 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz.
  • Early voting and Conditional “Same Day” Registration – Voters can pick up a vote-by-mail ballot at the Santa Cruz County Elections Office and Watsonville City Clerk’s Office beginning on May 7. After the deadline to register to vote – May 21 – both offices will operate as a Conditional “Same Day” Voter Registration Center. Under a new law, voters who miss the deadline to register may register and vote up to and including Election Day. This service is ONLY available at designated locations. In addition to the Santa Cruz County Elections Office and Watsonville City Clerk’s Office, a Voter Registration and Vote Center will be set up at UCSC in the Bay Tree Conference Center in Quarry Plaza on June 2 and 3 from 9am to 5pm, on Monday, June 4 from 8am to 5pm and on Tuesday, June 5, Election Day, from 7am to 8pm.
    Voters who cast ballots under the Conditional “Same Day” Voter Registration laws will vote a provisional ballot and complete a new voter registration card. Once the elections official verifies that the person is eligible to vote and has not yet cast a vote, the ballot will be counted during the canvass.   
  • Election Officer Training Classes – Classes are offered at various times during May and June. Please check our website at www.votescount.com for schedules.
  • Logic and Accuracy Testing of the Edge Touchscreens and Optech Insight Scanners – Activities will most likely begin the week of Monday, May 14 and continue for two weeks. Please call for exact times and dates as it is subject to change. Location for machine testing: County Clerk/Elections Operations Center, 2809 Mission St., Santa Cruz. Contact Jim Davies at 831-454-3020. The Operations Center is a locked facility and observers must call 831-454-3020 or 831-454-3021 to gain access.
  • Logic and Accuracy Testing of the 400C – 400C testing begins the week of May 29 (Monday, May 28 is a holiday). Vote-by-mail ballot tabulation will most likely begin on Friday, June 1. Vote-by-mail ballots are scanned, but totals are not released until after the polls close at 8pm. Tuesday, June 5. Please call for exact times and dates as it is subject to change. Location: County Clerk/Elections Department, 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz.
  • Election Day – A list of polling sites will be posted on the Elections website at www.votescount.com. Polling places are open Tuesday, June 5, from 7am to 8pm on Election Day. Any person must be allowed to observe any procedure at the polls (except as to how one voted). Persons are permitted to observe voting but MUST NOT INTERFERE with the duties of the Elections Officers. They may not handle official ballots or intrude upon the voting process.
  • Election Night Procedures and Ballot Counting – After the polls close, results from the vote-by-mail ballots will be released at the office and online at www.votescount.com. Election officials who have worked the polls will bring their voted ballots from the polls, Memory Packs with the paper ballot totals, and Results Cartridges containing results from the touchscreens to one of four return centers located in the county. All supplies will be brought to the County Government Center on Election Night for the votes to be compiled. Results Cartridges and Memory Packs will be tabulated at the central counting location and totals released periodically throughout the night. Our plan is to release four vote count reports on Election Night:
  1. 1st Report – will be released around 8:30pm and will include the vote-by-mail ballots that have been returned and processed prior to Election Day.
  2. 2nd Report – around 11pm will include some results from the polls.
  3. 3rd Report – after midnight will include more precinct results.
  4. Final Semi-Official Report – will be released as soon as all precincts are in and tallied. Could be 2am or later. There will be a number of outstanding ballots to be counted during the canvass: provisional, remaining vote-by-mail ballots, damaged ballots, ballots that need to be duplicated, etc. The semi-official results will be available in hardcopy at the office and online at www.votescount.com Location: County Clerk/Elections Department, 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz.
  • The Official Canvass will begin Wednesday, June 6. The canvass includes processing all remaining ballots, researching provisional ballots, auditing the polls, conducting a 1% manual tally of the paper ballots, and completing a manual tally of votes cast on the touchscreens. A random drawing of the precincts subject to the 1% manual tally will take place at 10am, Thursday, June 7. Location: County Clerk/Elections Department, 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz.
  • Certified Vote. Pursuant to Elections Code §15374, the elections official shall prepare a certified statement of the results of the election within 30 days of the election which is Thursday, July 5. Location: County Clerk/Elections Department, 701 Ocean St., Room 310, Santa Cruz.

Observers will be provided with the information they need to participate in any and all of these activities.  We would appreciate your feedback on processes you observe. We will provide you with a form to provide feedback, or you may provide your own written or verbal feedback.

If you would like to be an election observer, please notify:

Thank you for your interest in safeguarding our electoral system.