Department of Elections Reminds Voters of a Few Important Steps to Ensure Their Vote-by-Mail Ballots Can Be Counted

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

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 –The Department of Elections reminds those who vote by mail to follow these steps to ensure that their ballots can be counted.

Be sure to sign your ballot envelope the same way as when you registered to vote
Before a vote-by-mail ballot can be counted, state election law requires that the voter’s signature on the return envelope be compared to the voter’s signature in his or her registration record. Voters who believe their signature has changed can submit a new Voter Registration Application with their current signature.

Sign your ballot envelope in the designated area
The area for the voter’s signature is on the back of the ballot return envelope, designated by a box with a “Sign Here” arrow pointing to it. Punched holes around the signature area can help voters with visual impairments to identify the signature section of the envelope by touch. Voters who are unable to sign their envelope may make a mark in the signature section and have a witness sign next to it.

Return your ballot on time
Voters who plan to mail their ballots are reminded that the ballots must be postmarked before or on Election Day, Tuesday, June 5, and received by the Department no later than Friday, June 8.  

Voters may also return their ballots in person by 8 p.m. on Election Day to the City Hall Voting Center, the Ballot Drop-Off Stations outside City Hall, or any polling place.  Any voter who is unable to mail or personally return the ballot may designate someone else to return it by providing the required information on the back of the return envelope.  

Track your ballot at
After returning their ballots, voters are encouraged to check the status to see when the Department received the ballot, when the voter’s signature on the return envelope was verified and the ballot was extracted from the envelope, and when the ballot was counted. The tool also allows to request a replacement ballot or a ballot in a different language. If there is an issue preventing the Department from counting a ballot, the tool provides the reason and actions the voter must take to resolve the issue.

Watch for correspondence from the Department of Elections
Voters whose ballots require corrective actions will receive a notice in the mail that includes various options to provide the information to the Department. Additionally, Department staff will contact these voters via email and telephone if the voter has provided this contact information. The Department urges voters who were notified of an issue with their ballot to provide the required information as soon as possible to allow the Department to count their ballot.  

For more information about the June 5 election, contact the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or, or visit


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

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