Department of Elections Will Begin Canvass of Retirement Board Election Ballots on February 6

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

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Thursday, February 2, 2017 – To date, the Department of Elections has received approximately 15,000 ballots cast in the Retirement Board Election, which represents 24% of the total number of ballots issued. A daily breakdown of ballots received and accepted can be viewed at

The Department of Elections mailed ballots to members of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System in December. The voting period began on Monday January 16, and will conclude on Friday, February 3. On Monday, February 6, the Department of Elections will begin the canvass of ballots cast and will certify the election results no later than Wednesday, February 8.

As ballots are returned, staff members scan the envelopes to record receipt of each ballot and verify that each envelope contains the voter’s signature. When the voting period ends, the envelopes of the accepted ballots will be opened by a high-speed envelope opener and staff members will remove the ballots from the envelopes. Throughout this process, the side of the envelope with the voter’s identifying information is kept face down, to maintain confidentiality. Department personnel then prepare the extracted ballots for counting. Once all the ballots are arranged in the same orientation, they are scanned through equipment that reads the marks on the ballots indicating voters’ choices and stores this information for inclusion in the official results.

In situations in which the equipment cannot process a ballot (such as when the scanner detects multiple marks on the ballot or a blank ballot), Department staff visually inspect the ballot to determine the voter’s intent, if possible.

The processes associated with canvassing the ballots are open to public observation in City Hall, in the hallway outside Room 59, and will also be broadcast live on the Department’s web channel, SF Elections Live, at

After the ballots are processed, the Department of Elections will post the images of ballots cast in the election—redacting any marks that might identify a voter, such as initials, signatures, etc.—and ballot image data in CSV format at The certified results of the Retirement Board Election will also be posted at this link.

For more information, call the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375, write to, or visit the Department’s office in City Hall, Room 48.  


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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