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 28 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.
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 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:
- 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.
- Damaged Ballots that are unable to be processed through the election tally system and, therefore, must be manually duplicated prior to tabulation.
- Provisional Ballots and Fail-Safe 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. Fail-safe ballots are issued when a Stanislaus County voter moves within the county, but fails to re-register before the close of registration.
On Election Day, each voted provisional and fail-safe ballot is placed in a special blue envelope so that they can be separated from the regular voted ballots. On election night they are transported to the tally center in Modesto, with all the other ballots. During the canvass period after election night, each provisional and fail-safe ballot is researched to determine eligibility of the voter. Since there may be several hundreds involved, it takes time to carefully check each one through the computer registration files. After the determination is made and if the voter is qualified to vote, their ballots are added to the overall total for the election.
- 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. over voted the ballot.)
Disclaimer: The information contained in these pages was valid at the time of publication. The County Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters reserves the right to modify, update, change or make improvements at any time, without notice, and assumes no liability for damages incurred directly or indirectly as a result of errors, omissions or discrepancies.
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