What Happens After the Election?

Ryan Ronco, County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters

3715 Atherton Road, Suite 2
Rocklin, CA 95765
(530) 886-5650
E-mail: [email protected]

The Placer County Elections Office has now entered the post-election ballot counting and auditing period known as the canvass. Below is a timeline of events for any candidates or public who are interested in observing our activities.

Wednesday, November 9 – we will spend this day returning rental trucks, beginning poll worker payroll processing, and sorting all the materials we got back from Placer’s 164 polling places Election Night. Our goal by the end of the day is to get a determination of the preliminary number of vote by mail ballots remaining to be counted. Please note that this number will increase over the next several days as state law allows any vote by mail ballots we receive from the post office that are postmarked on or before Election Day and that arrive up to seven days after Election Day as eligible to be counted (pending signature verification).

Thursday, November 10 – assuming we finish the preliminary count of vote by mail ballots remaining to be processed as outlined above, we will spend this day assigning vote history to all the polling place voters who voted on Election Day. We must complete this step before we begin counting any remaining vote by mail ballots as this is the only way we can ensure no voters have their ballots counted twice. If we cannot complete this task by the end of the day, it will continue every day forward until completed.

Friday, November 11 (Veterans Day) – assuming we finish the tasks outlined above, we can then return to counting all the remaining eligible vote by mail ballots. Our goal is to provide an update of the ballot count by the end of the business day for any ballots we were able to tally.

Tuesdays and Fridays through the canvass – we will provide updated voted ballot totals by the end of the business day.

Wednesday, November 16 – on this day we will begin the state-required manual hand recount of ballots to ensure our precinct and central count tabulating equipment counted everything correctly. This hand recount will continue every day (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded unless otherwise decided by the Registrar) until completed.

Thursday, December 8 – the post-election canvass must be completed by this date.

All the post-election canvass activities are transparent and can be viewed by the public. Thank you for your participation and interest in the voting process.

The election canvass process is an internal audit and is required by state law to ensure the accuracy of election results. California election law allows 30 days for the conduct of the official canvass. All aspects of the canvass are open to public inspection. During the canvass, vote by mail and provisional ballots not counted on election night are researched to validate eligibility. The canvass concludes with the certification and issuance of official election results. Listed below are the major components of the official canvass.

Roster Reconciliation

Following the close of the polls election night, precinct officers are responsible for completing the Official Ballot Statement. The statement lists the exact number of voted ballots, unused ballots, spoiled ballots, roster signatures, etc. As part of the official canvass, the number of signatures indicated by the inspector on the roster is compared to the number of ballots tabulated by the computer tally system.

1% Manual Vote Tally

All voted ballots from a randomly selected 1% of the voting precincts are manually tallied and balanced against the computer counts to verify the accuracy of the election tally system. This process is required by law.

Ballots Added During Official Canvass

The following ballots are withheld from the tally system on election night. Once eligibility is determined, these ballots are added to the election results. Withheld ballot types include:

  1. Vote By Mail Ballots returned on election day to our office and dropped off at polling locations. These ballots do not arrive in sufficient time to be individually signature-verified, opened and prepared for tabulation on election night.
  2. Damaged Ballots that are unable to be processed through the election tally system and, therefore, must be manually duplicated prior to tabulation.
  3. Provisional Ballots issued at the voting locations on election day must be individually researched to determine eligibility and is a time-consuming process. Provisional ballots are issued at polling locations when a person’s voter registration cannot immediately be authorized. On election day, each voted provisional is placed in a special envelope so that they can be separated from the regular voted ballots. On election night they are transported to the tally center in Rocklin, with all the other ballots. During the canvass period after election night, each provisional ballot is researched to determine eligibility of the voter. Since there may be several thousand involved, it takes time to carefully check each one through the computer registration files. After the determination is made and if the voter is eligible to vote, their ballots are added to the overall total for the election.
  4. Write-In Ballots must be individually reviewed to determine if the write-in vote is for a qualified or unqualified write-in candidate and whether or not the voter also voted for a candidate listed on the ballot for the same office (i.e., overvoted the ballot.)

At the June 2022 Primary Election, approximately 80,000 provisional, vote by mail and damaged ballots remained to be processed after election night.