What Happens After the Election?

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Phone: 530-886-5650
Toll-free: 1-800-824-8683
Email: [email protected]

After Election Day, the Placer County Elections Office begins the Official Canvass, an internal auditing period during which we:

  • Finish counting vote-by-mail ballots.
  • Research the eligibility of provisional and conditional voter registration (CVR) ballots.
  • Conduct a 1% manual tally to verify the accuracy of the county’s election results.

For major elections, California law allows up to 30 days to complete the official canvass and certify the results of the election. (Election Code § 15372)

All our election processes are transparent and open to the public. We encourage anyone interested to stop by our office or any vote center to see the election in action. Observers must comply with all relevant laws and regulations. Electioneering is prohibited within 100 feet of a voting location.

Here is a timeline of events during the official canvass period for the March 5, 2024, Presidential Primary Election:

Tuesday, March 5, 2024 (Election Day)

Beginning at 8:00 p.m. and continuously until completed, we will conduct the semifinal official canvass of votes, reporting totals to the Secretary of State and updating our website results at least every two hours. By the end of the night (usually past midnight), we post the semifinal election results of all vote center ballots plus the vote-by-mail ballots received and processed so far.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 (Election Day + 1)

In addition to counting vote-by-mail ballots and researching provisional and CVR ballots, we will spend this day:

  • Sorting all the election materials we received from vote centers on Election Night.
  • Working with Placer County Human Resources to pay our Election Aides and service clubs.

Our goal by the end of the day is to determine the preliminary number of unprocessed vote-by-mail ballots. Please note that this number will increase over the next several days as state law allows us to count pending signature verification and any vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day that we receive from the post office up to seven days after Election Day.

Thursday, March 7, 2024 (Election Day + 2)

On this day, we will send to the Secretary of State an initial report containing the estimated number of outstanding unprocessed ballots.

Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the Canvass

By the end of business every Tuesday and Friday during the Canvass, we will post updated voted ballot totals on our website.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 (Election Day + 7)

This is the last day when vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by Election Day are eligible to be counted if received in our office through the post office.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 (Election Day + 8)

On this day, we will begin the state-mandated 1% manual tally to ensure our precinct and central count tabulating equipment counted ballots correctly. This hand recount will continue every day until completed, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays unless otherwise decided by the Registrar.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 (Election Day + 28)

This is the deadline for a voter to submit a “cure letter”, a statement that confirms that a vote-by-mail return envelope with a missing or non-matching signature belongs to them.

Thursday, April 4, 2024 (Election Day + 30)

The official canvass must be completed by this date. The Placer County Registrar of Voters certifies the results of the election and sends them to the Placer County Board of Supervisors so they can declare the winners for each office and the results of each measure under its jurisdiction.

Listed below are the major components of the official canvass period.

Roster Reconciliation

Following the close of the polls on 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 a senior election aide on the roster is compared to the number of ballots tabulated by the computer tally system.

1% Manual 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. In practice, we check much more than 1% of all ballots because we must include enough extra precincts to ensure every contest on the ballot is included in the tally.

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 vote centers. 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 and Conditional Voter Registration (CVR) Ballots issued at vote centers must be individually researched to determine eligibility and is a time-consuming process. Provisional and CVR ballots are issued at vote centers when a person’s voter registration cannot immediately be authorized. On Election Day, each voted provisional and CVR 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 Elections Office in Rocklin, with all the other ballots. During the canvass period after Election Night, each provisional and CVR 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 registration database. 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 the voter also voted for a candidate listed on the ballot for the same office (i.e., overvoted the ballot.)

As many as 100,000 provisional, CVR, vote-by-mail, and damaged ballots can remain after Election Night for processing.

Additional Resources