The Public is Welcome to Observe Process Audits and Validates the Vote Count
June 11, 2012

Contact: Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder
Alternate: David Tom, Elections Manager

(Redwood City, CA) On June 15, the San Mateo County Elections Division of the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office will begin its one percent manual tally of the votes cast in the June 5 Presidential Primary Election.  The One Percent Manual Tally is a key procedure in the canvass of an election that takes place after Election Day.  This procedure is legally required under California law and takes place during the Official Canvass of the Vote.  The official Canvass begins once the polls have closed on Election Day and must be finished within 28 days following an election.  This process ensures the accuracy of the vote before the official results are certified. 

“The manual tally substantiates the results and provides confirmation that the conduct of the election was proper.  It is one of the final steps in the accountability of an election,” said San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer Mark Church.  “It’s the part of an election that gives election officials, citizens and interested parties full confidence in the final results.” 

Official election results will not be certified until the canvass is completed and the votes of each of the contests on the ballot are upheld by the validations from the One Percent Manual Tally.  This process is expected to take approximately 3 to 4 days to complete.  The Chief Elections Officer will certify and publish the official results after the process is finalized and no later than July 3, 2012.

In order to begin the conduct of the One Percent Manual Tally, precincts are selected for manual tally by using a random process that involves throwing three ten-sided dice where the resulting three numbers are matched to a pre-determined number that represents an active precinct number.  The number of precincts that will be subject to recount is not a simple matter of choosing one percent of the precincts in each of these districts.  The precincts are chosen to include every contest on the ballot, which will result in more than one percent of the total number of precincts in the election.

Due to a change in the law, instead of by precincts, the Manually Tally for Vote by Mail ballots will be 1% of the Vote by Mail ballots cast.  The ballots will be selected by “batches” using the same random process as precinct ballots.  The sampling must include all contests for the election.

The One Percent Manual Tally, including the rolling of the dice, is a completely transparent process that the public is welcome to observe.  Past observers have rolled the dice to help select that were manually tallied.

The One Percent Manual Tally will be held at the Elections Division at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo.  Please call 650.312.5222 if you wish to observe or be a part of the process to select the precincts.

To conduct the one percent manual tally, election officials will work in teams of four, called a precinct board, to manually read, call out, record and tally votes.  The sounds coming from the One Percent Manual Tally where the precinct boards conduct the tally resemble chanting. Someone listening in will hear something like, “Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes” or “No, No, No, No” for the contests with measures, and “Sanchez, Sanchez, Sanchez, Sanchez” and “Li, Li, Li, Li” if there are two candidates being elected.  It all depends on the individual ballot.

After the One Percent Manual Tally is completed, election results will be certified and made official by Chief Elections Officer, Mark Church.  Results must be certified by July 3, 2012.  Church also publishes the official certified results, known as the Statement of the Vote, on the elections website, 

The press release is displayed in its original format. San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder & Elections website now resides at

Related Contacts

Mark Church

Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder and Chief Elections Officer
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665Get Directions

Jim Irizarry

Asst. Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder & Asst. Chief Elections Officer
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665Get Directions