The Department of Elections Has Begun Processing Returned Vote-By-Mail Ballots for the November 3 Election

Department of Elections
City and County of San Francisco
John Arntz, Director

For Immediate Release

SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – The Department of Elections has begun processing returned vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020, Consolidated General Election.

This processing includes conducting the comparison of the signatures on return envelopes to the signature images from the voters’ registration records, opening accepted vote-by-mail ballot return envelopes, removing ballots, and scanning ballots in preparation for tabulation. The recent passage of Assembly Bill 860 permits the Department to begin processing vote-by-mail ballots 29 days before Election Day but under no circumstances may a vote count be accessed or released until 8 p.m. on Election Night.  

“We encourage voters to safely participate in this election and return their mail-in ballots early,” said Director John Arntz. “Mark your ballot, sign and seal the envelope, and return your ballot by mail or to one of the outdoor drop-off stations set up near the Voting Center at 99 Grove St. The sooner we receive your ballot, the sooner we can start processing it and your votes will be included in the first preliminary election results released when the polls close at 8 p.m. on November 3.”

Ballot processing is open to public observation. While elections processes may be observed in person at the Department’s main office in Room 48 of City Hall, the Pier 31 warehouse, and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (this site hosts some ballot processing activities that in previous elections were conducted in City Hall), the Department encourages observers to view election activities via live stream on

The United States Postal Service (USPS) delivers ballots returned by voters to the Department of Elections on a daily basis. To date, the USPS delivered nearly 62,000 ballots to the Department.

Voters who wish to follow the status of their vote can track their ballots through the process at or by signing up for ballot notifications at

Those who are registered to vote and have not yet received their ballots, are urged to contact the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or go to to check/update their registration information.

For more information, visit or contact the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375.


Department of Elections
City and County of San Francisco
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 554-4375

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