San Francisco Department of Elections will Conduct Random Selection of Ballots for Manual Tally on Thursday, November 12, 9 a.m.

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

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Saturday, November 7, 2020 – The Department of Elections will randomly select ballots for manual tally to verify the accuracy of the voting system.  The selection of ballots will occur on November 12, 9 a.m., outside the Department’s office, City Hall Room 48, and is open to public observation.  The selection of ballots can also be viewed via live stream on  

Following the selection of ballots, the Department will post a recording of the process on

To randomly select ballots to hand tally, the Department uses 10-sided dice.  After dice are rolled, the numbers facing up are matched to numbers assigned to an itemized list of precincts for which the Department will manually tally cards voted at a number of polling places equal to one percent of all precincts. 

Next, the Department will roll the dice to select a number of batches of vote-by-mail and other ballots that equals one percent of the batches processed.  These batches most likely include ballots from multiple precincts.  For this latter category of ballots, the numbers from the rolled dice are referenced to a list of batch numbers. 

If the selected precincts or batches do not include all of the contests voted upon in the election, the Department will continue rolling the dice to select additional precincts or batches that include such contests.  Only the contests from the additional precincts or batches will be manually tallied. 

The Department will compare the manual tallies against the results reports issued from the voting system.  The purpose of conducting the manual count and then comparing those results to vote totals tabulated by the voting equipment is to verify that the equipment properly tabulated ballots.

Observing the Manual Tally Process
Following the selection of precincts and batches, the Department will collect the ballot cards involved in the tallies.  The manual tally will begin on Friday, November 13, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., inside the Department’s warehouse on Pier 31.  If necessary, the tallies will continue on Saturday, November 14, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


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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