FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2016
Jesse Melgar or Sam Mahood
California Vote Counting—What To Expect
SACRAMENTO – County elections officials are hard at work continuing to count ballots from the November 8, 2016 General Election. County elections officials have up to 30 days after Election Day to complete their extensive tallying, auditing, and certification work (known as the “official canvass”). The frequency of updated results varies by county.
County elections officials must report their final results to the Secretary of State for presidential electors by December 6, 2016 and all other offices by December 9, 2016. The Secretary of State will certify the results of the presidential electors to the Governor by December 10, 2016, and will certify the results of all other offices by December 16, 2016.
California’s county elections officials have already processed and counted 9.96 million ballots from the November 8, 2016 General Election. County elections officials report to the Secretary of State’s office estimates of the number of outstanding ballots they still have to process. This first unprocessed ballots report will be published Thursday, November 10, 2016.
“County elections officials are hard at work processing and counting ballots,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Ensuring the integrity of the vote count is critical to our democracy. State law gives county elections officials up to 30 days after Election Day to complete vote counting, auditing, and certification. In California, we work to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for,” Padilla added.
Voting by mail has increased significantly in recent years and while most vote-by-mail ballots arrive on or before Election Day, many arrive after. State law as of 2014 requires that vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by county elections officials no later than 3 days after Election Day must be processed. The third day after this election is Friday November 11—which is Veterans Day, a federal holiday. Therefore, the deadline for counties to receive VBM ballots, which were postmarked on or before Election Day, is Monday, November 14.
In California, provisional ballots serve as a fail-safe method of ensuring all voters who show up to the polls can cast a ballot.
All provisional ballots are carefully checked by county elections officials to confirm that the person who voted provisionally is both registered and that they did not cast a ballot by mail or at another polling location on Election Day.
NOTE: The Secretary of State’s office does not issue, receive, or count ballots. Elections officials in each of California’s 58 counties process and count ballots, and transmit results to the Secretary of State’s office. The Secretary of State’s office compiles all of these results in the official Statement of Vote.