The Department of Elections Reminds Voters of Return Options for Vote-by-Mail Ballots

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

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Sunday, February 23, 2020 –The Department of Elections reminds voters who have not yet returned their vote-by-mail ballots of several return options.   

“The first preliminary election results that are announced on Election Night include votes from the vote-by-mail ballots that were processed and scanned before Election Day”, said Director John Arntz. “Vote-by-mail ballots returned to polling places are not included in the Election Night results because elections personnel still need to compare the voters’ signatures on the outside of the envelopes to the voters’ signatures stored in the registration database, and then open the envelopes and remove ballot cards for scanning and tabulation. We encourage voters to return their vote-by-mail ballots before Election Day to ensure the ballots are among the first counted.” 

Voters can return their voted ballots in one of the following ways:

By mail to the Department of Elections
Ballots that are returned by mail must be postmarked on or before Election Day, March 3, and delivered to the Department via United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company no later than Friday, March 6.

In person to any voting center on or before Election Day or any polling place on Election Day
Ballots that are personally returned must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, March 3.

The City Hall Voting Center will be open every day through Election Day, March 3. Two additional voting centers will open on Saturday, February 29: on the San Francisco State University (SFSU) campus at 798 State Drive and at the Joseph Lee Recreation Center, located at 1395 Mendell Street.

For more information and hours of voting centers, visit A list of polling places is available at

In person to one of the ballot drop-off stations
Department staff will facilitate the collection of vote-by-mail ballots at the Goodlett (Polk) and Grove street sides of City Hall and outside two additional voting centers set to open on Saturday, February 29.

Ballot drop-off stations will be open as follows:

  • February 29-March1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, March 2, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Election Day, Tuesday, March 3, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

By authorizing someone to return the ballot on voter’s behalf
Anyone who is unable to mail or personally return the ballot may designate someone else to return the ballot by providing the required information on the back of the return envelope.  

Voters are encouraged to check the status of their returned ballots at If there is an issue preventing the Department from counting a voter’s ballot, the tool provides the reason and actions the voter must take to resolve the issue so that the ballot can be counted.

For more information about the March 3 election, contact the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375,, or visit the Department of Elections’ office in City Hall, Room 48.


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

News Category: