The Department of Elections Has Begun Processing Returned Vote-By-Mail Ballots for the September 14, 2021, California Gubernatorial Recall Election

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

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, August 17, 2021 – The Department of Elections has begun processing returned vote-by-mail ballots for the September 14, 2021, California Gubernatorial Recall Election. Ballot processing will continue daily thereafter from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until all ballots are processed for the day until the Official Canvass is complete.

Vote-by-mail ballot processing includes scanning returned ballot envelopes, conducting the comparison of the signatures on ballot envelopes to the signature images in the voters’ registration records, opening accepted ballot envelopes, removing ballots, and scanning ballots in preparation for tabulation on Election Night.  

“For this election, as in every election, the Department will make a concerted effort to scan vote-by-mail ballot envelopes and perform signature checks on the same day the ballots are delivered to the Department,” said Director John Arntz. “This practice allows the Department to upload the status of each ballot to its online Voter Portal within 24 hours of receipt. Maintaining such a schedule in ballot processing allows voters to view the status of their ballots shortly after returning their ballot envelopes 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

The public is welcome to observe any part of ballot processing in-person at the Department’s office in City Hall, Room 48 or via live stream on the Department’s website.  A schedule of observation activities, including those occurring in the weeks leading up to Election Day, those on Election Day, and those that occur after Election Day as well as live stream links can be viewed at

To date, the Department has received nearly 36,000 voted ballots returned by voters.  Issued and returned vote-by-mail ballot statistics, registration data as well as data on current election activities can be viewed at

Anyone with questions about registration or voting is encouraged to call the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or write to   



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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