advertisement

SACRAMENTO, CA – County elections officials are hard at work continuing to count ballots from the November 3, 2020, 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.  

California’s county elections officials have already processed and counted 12.4 million ballots from the November 3, 2020, General Election. County elections officials estimate 4.5 million outstanding ballots remain to be processed and counted. The unprocessed ballots report—a compilation of estimates from county elections officials—is available at: https://electionresults.sos.ca.gov/unprocessed-ballots-status  

For this election, vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by county elections officials no later than 17 days after Election Day must be processed.  

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, California has conducted an unprecedented election to ensure voters maintain their right to cast their ballot safely and securely,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “County elections officials have been hard at work processing and counting the millions of ballots cast by California voters. Ensuring the accuracy and 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.  

County elections officials must report their final results to the Secretary of State for the Presidential contest by December 1 and all other state and federal contests by December 4. The Secretary of State will certify the results on December 11, 2020.


Click here for the current reporting status from each county.

Who counts ballots in California?

California counties handle the printing, mailing, and processing of ballots. The Secretary of State’s office does not process ballots in any way.  

When are vote-by-mail ballots counted?

Vote-by-mail ballots that are received by county elections officials before Election Day are typically counted on Election Day. Many more vote-by-mail ballots are dropped off at polling places, drop box locations, or arrive at county elections offices on Election Day. Due to urgency legislation for this election vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by county elections officials no later than 17 days after Election Day must be processed.  

Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it takes up to 30 days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. The frequency of updated results will vary based on the size of each county and the process each local elections office uses to tally and report votes.  

How and when are provisional ballots counted?

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. Due to the additional human review and verification needed for provisional ballots, they are typically counted after Election Day and vote-by-mail ballots.  

How and when are Same Day Voter Registrations processed?

Same Day Voter Registration, also known as Conditional Voter Registration in state law, is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information for an election.  

Eligible citizens who need to register or re-register to vote within 14 days of an election can complete this process to register and vote at their county elections office, polling place, or vote center. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.  

When will the vote counting period end and election be certified?

Election results will change throughout the canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots, and other ballots are processed. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take up to 30 days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. The frequency of updated results will vary based on the size of each county and the process each county elections office uses to tally and report votes. County elections officials must report their final results to the Secretary of State for the Presidential contest by December 1 and all other state and federal contests by December 4. The Secretary of State will certify the results on December 11, 2020. The Electoral College will convene on December 14, 2020.