Debra Bowen, California Secretary of State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2012
Contact: Shannan Velayas, (916) 653-6575
When are Election Results Final?
Post-Election Canvass Under Way in California Counties
SACRAMENTO – In the 31 days following every statewide election, county elections officials complete their official canvass by ensuring every eligible ballot is counted accurately and then certify final election results to the Secretary of State. For the June 5 Presidential Primary Election, county elections officials have until July 3 to complete the canvass and until July 6 to report their certified vote counts to the Secretary.
While the Secretary of State cannot announce the winner of a contest before all ballots are counted, news media sometimes choose to “call an election” sooner. In close contests, a clear winner may not be apparent for many days, as counties verify and count hundreds of thousands of unprocessed ballots that include vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots cast at polling places, and others. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take the full amount of time allowed by law for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters.
“While Election Day has come and gone, the meticulous tasks of reviewing signatures on vote-by-mail envelopes and verifying registrations of people who voted provisionally continues in each of the 58 counties,” said California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer.
As in past statewide elections, Secretary Bowen has asked all county elections officials to report the number of unprocessed ballots they have on hand so she can provide a statewide tally to the public. The numbers of ballots left to count – as voluntarily reported by counties – will be posted Thursday at http://vote.sos.ca.gov/unprocessed-ballots-status/.
Many state and federal laws and mandates must be followed during this official canvass period before the election results can be certified. County elections officials must, among other things: