Observe the Election Process
Transparency is a key component of free, fair, and functional elections. To that end, the Department of Elections welcomes members of the public to observe its operations and offer feedback.
We offer a variety of observation opportunities:
- Watch election processes streamed live on the Department’s website
- Take a tour of the Department of Elections
- Join the Official Observer Panel for an in-depth view of our operations
To help potential observers familiarize themselves with election processes and observation guidelines, the Department publishes an Observer Guide. The November 3, 2020 Observer Guide (PDF)
For more information about observation opportunities, contact us through our contact form or call us at (415) 554-4375.
Official Observer Panel Application
Prior to each election, the Department invites representatives from campaigns, political parties, the Civil Grand Jury, the League of Women Voters, other committees and organizations, members of the media, and interested members of the public to join the Official Observer Panel.
The Department hosts an introductory meeting approximately one month before each election to provide an opportunity for panelists to learn about the Department, learn more about the observation process, and learn about mechanisms for providing feedback to the Department on election processes and procedures.
To serve on the Official Observer Panel, please complete and submit the Observer Panel Application (PDF). Once we receive your application, we will send you more information and an official invitation to join the Panel.
Schedule of Activities
Before each election, the Department prepares a schedule to show when, where, and how members of the public can observe specific election activities.
|Special Tax District Nos. 2019-1 and 2019-2 (Pier 70 Leased Properties)||Link to Video recording||Monday, January 27, 9 am||City Hall, Rm 48|
Calendar of Observable Activities
November 3, 2020, Consolidated General Election
|On Election Day|
|Voting Centers/ Polling Places||Check sfelections.org for polling place locations||Voting Center and polls are open from 7 a.m.– 8 p.m. on Election Day||City-wide|
|Election Day Support Center||Provides support to poll workers and dispatches in-person assistance to polling places when needed||5:30 a.m. to approximately midnight||City Hall, North Light Court|
|Processing Center||Receives voted ballots, rosters and other materials from polling places||Begins after 8 p.m. and continues until all polling place materials have been received||Warehouse at Pier 31|
|Data Collection Center||Receives memory cards from polling places||Begins after 8 p.m. and continues until all polling place memory devices have been received||Bill Graham Civic Auditorium|
|Election Night Results Reporting||Results are also available at: sfelections.org, San Francisco Government Television – SFGTV, Channel 26, Department’s Office||First preliminary results released at approximately 8:45 p.m. with updates released at approximately 9:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.|
|After Election Day|
|Processing and Tabulation
||Ballots include vote-by-mail ballots that voters dropped off at the polling places or the City Hall drop-off stations, or that the Department received in the mail within 17 days of Election Day; vote-by-mail ballots that were remedied by voters up to two days prior to the certification of the election; provisional ballots; and ballots with write-in votes.
For activity on a specific day, contact Matthew Selby (415) 554-4376
|Continues until all ballots have been counted and the results are certified||Bill Graham Civic Auditorium|
|Results Reporting after Election Night||The Department posts updated results online on any day ballots are tabulated||Daily at approximately 4 p.m.||sfelections.org|
|Canvass||An internal audit of the election to ensure the accuracy of results. Live Stream.||11/5/2020 - TBD||Warehouse
at Pier 31
|1% Manual Tally||Random Selection for 1% Manual Tally||11/12/2020, 9 a.m.||City Hall,Rm 48|
|Manual tally||Manual tally of 1% of ballots cast||11/13/2020, 9 a.m.||Department warehouse, Pier 31 (public parking unavailable inside warehouse)|