The official canvass of votes cast at the November 7, 2000 primary election may begin no later than Thursday, November 9, 2000 pursuant to Elections Code 15301, 15372.

PERIODIC UPDATE OF RESULTS BEFORE FINAL CERTIFICATION: In a large election, the Elections Department will do an update of the vote-by-mail ballots once they are prepared for counting. A final count will occur once all provisional ballots, damaged ballots and precinct supplies have been processed and all ballots are accounted for. The time and date of any update and the final count will be provided to interested persons.

VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT NUMBERS PROVIDED BY DISTRICT: Vote-by-mail ballots may be dropped off at any polling place on election day. Therefore, on election night, the Elections Department will be able to provide the total number of vote-by-mail ballots returned to Santa Cruz County polling places, but we cannot report how many were returned by district. We can also provide an estimate of the number of vote-by-mail ballots left to be processed. Depending on the workload, there will be some amount of vote-by-mail ballots that have come through the mail or voted at the Elections Department prior to election day that were not processed in time to be counted election night.

Once all of the vote-by-mail ballots are keyed into the computer system and flagged as returned, we will be able to provide a count of vote-by-mail ballots left to be processed by district.
Usually, this report is available a week to 10 days after the election.


VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT PROCESSING: On Election night all the vote-by-mail ballots that have been received and processed are counted. For a vote-by-mail ballot to be ready to be counted, the following has to occur:

a) flag returned vote-by-mail ballots on computer system;

b) compare signature of voter on vote-by-mail ballot envelope to the signature on computer from the voter's registration affidavit, if there is a discrepancy, the ballot is separated for review by a supervisor;

c) sort vote-by-mail ballots by consolidated voting precinct;

d) open vote-by-mail ballot identification envelopes. Identification envelopes are placed signature side down and the voted ballot cards inside the secrecy envelope are removed. Envelopes returned with no voted ballot cards are so noted. Empty identification envelopes are removed from the table. The number of opened vote-by-mail identification envelopes are counted and the number of gray secrecy envelopes with voted ballots are counted. If numbers do not match, research is done until the numbers do match;

e) voted ballot cards are then removed from the secrecy envelopes. Voted ballot cards are inspected for damage, tape, marks that would affect the accuracy of counting the ballot, and ballots marked with ballpoint ink. Ballot cards are corrected pursuant to Elections Code 15270 or duplicated if necessary by the canvassing board.

f) vote-by-mail ballots issued on the day before or the day of the election are verified against the precinct rosters prior to processing to ensure against voting twice. Lists of absentee voters who are issued ballots prior to the day before the election are delivered to the precinct inspectors who mark the names in the Alpha Index as having already received a ballot.

g) ballots are then prepared for tallying final election results.

Vote-by-mail ballots are processed in 2 to 3 weeks.

PROVISIONAL BALLOT NUMBERS & PROCESSING: The number of provisional ballots voted at each precinct is available election night. The Elections Department does not provide a breakdown of the numbers of provisional ballots by district, but can provide the list of those turned in by precinct and a list of precincts in each district.

Provisional voters include:

  • registered voters who move within the same county but fail to re-register to vote, who vote at their new polling place or the Elections Department;
  • voters who are not listed on the Alpha Index at the polling place;
  • voters who have been issued an absentee ballot, show up at the polling place to vote, but fail to surrender their absentee ballot;
  • any other voter whose eligibility to vote was questioned by the precinct officer.

Provisional ballots are investigated by the Canvass Board once all of the absentees have been keyed in as returned. Where there is a question of the voter's right to vote, the supervisor investigates. All valid provisional ballots are then prepared for the official count.
The provisional ballot process takes 1 to 2 weeks.

RECONCILIATION - PRECINCT BALLOTS: The canvass board reviews Ballot Statements for accuracy and compares numbers of ballots counted by the computer to the number recorded by the Precinct Board. The Canvass Board verifies the number of Absentee and Provisional ballots reported turned in by the Precinct Board with the number received by the Receiving Board on Election night. Differences are computed and discrepancies are investigated. Ballot cards which were not tallied election night because they were damaged or rejected by the card reader are remade for the final ballot count. The Canvass Board also examines each roster for completion of all Certificates, Oaths and Declarations. Irregularities are noted and investigated. Payroll forms are forwarded to the Precinct Recruitment Officer who enters in the appropriate information on the computer data base and forwards the payroll tape to the Auditor.
This procedure takes 10 to 15 days.

WRITE-IN VOTES: Votes for qualified write-in candidates are manually counted by precinct. A summary of the votes cast for qualified write-in candidates is printed in the certified statement of vote. A copy is available upon the final tally of the votes cast. Votes are not tallied for write-in candidates that did not file as a qualified write-in candidate.
This procedure takes 3 to 5 days depending on the number of write-in candidates.

1% MANUAL RECOUNT ( 15645): The procedure for randomly selecting precincts to be counted in the 1 percent manual recount consists of identifying three polling places and one mailed ballot precinct which obtain the most races with the least amount of overlap. All races are to be tallied for these precincts. In addition to the 1 percent recount, one precinct is counted for each race not covered in the 1 percent. The manual recount is then applied to only the race/s not previously counted. Results of the manual recount are compared to the election night tally results. Discrepancies are investigated and if necessary the race is manually re-tallied.
The 1 percent recount procedure takes approximately 8 to 10 days.

FINAL OFFICIAL COUNT: The Logic and Accuracy Test is run, reviewed and approved to ensure the card readers are operating correctly. The vote-by-mail, provisional and any remade ballot cards are then counted by the card readers. A final computer print-out summarizing the votes in all races is then made available. Any irregularities and/or discrepancies are investigated and reconciled.
A Statement of the Votes cast includes:

  • The total number of ballots cast;
  • The number of votes cast at each precinct for each candidate and for and against each measure;
  • The total number of votes cast for each candidate and for and against each measure;
  • The total number of votes cast in each city, Assembly district, Congressional district, Senatorial district, State Board of Equalization district, supervisorial district for each candidate for the offices of presidential elector and all statewide offices and on each statewide ballot proposition.

A certified copy of the Statement of Vote is available for purchase within 7 days of the final count.

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