The Official Canvass

​By law, counties have up to 28 days for presidential elections, and 30 days for other elections to complete the Official Canvass before certifying election results.

Four Critical Tasks that are Performed During the Official Canvass

1. Ensure that every eligible ballot is counted.

2. Ensure voters only vote once.

3. Ensure proper procedures were followed on Election Day.

4. Ensure the vote tabulation system is properly counting ballots.

Ensuring Every Eligible Ballot is Counted

Vote by Mail (VBM) Ballots: VBM ballots received by 8:00 pm Election Day or postmarked on or before Election Day and received up to 7 days after the election are eligible by law to be processed and counted.

Conditional Voter Registration (CVR): CVR allows voters who missed the registration deadline or recently moved to register and vote a provisional ballot as late as Election Day. These ballots are processed for eligibility and counted during the Canvass.

Ballot Duplication: Ballots that are torn, stained, or otherwise unreadable by the tabulation equipment are duplicated by a duplication team. Original ballots are stored for retention.

Ensuring that Voters Only Vote Once

Multiple procedures detect fraudulent activity related to voting more than once:

  • When a voter submits their VBM ballot or votes in person “voting history” is applied to the voter’s record.
  • When processing provisional and CVR ballots, the voting history of the voter is reviewed to ensure the voter has not previously voted.
  • VoteCal, the statewide voter registration database, allows counties to ensure a voter has not also voted elsewhere in the state. • Voter records that indicate a voter may have voted more than once (within the county and across the state) are investigated.
  • Cases that indicate a voter may have tried to vote twice are reported to the local District Attorney’s office and the Secretary of State Fraud Division for investigation and prosecution.

Ensuring Proper Procedures were followed on Election Day

  • Staff inspect all precinct supplies that are returned from Vote Centers to ensure all eligible ballots are retrieved for processing.
  • Ballot statements, logs, and notes from each Vote Center are collected and reviewed to ensure proper procedures were followed.
  • Notes from call logs between staff and election workers are reviewed to ensure issues were resolved.
  • The number of voters is reconciled to the number of ballots cast for each Vote Center to ensure all ballots are accounted.

Ensuring the Vote Tabulation system is Properly Counting Ballots

  • During pre-election activities, the tabulation system is subjected to rigorous Logic and Accuracy Testing with pre-marked test decks to ensure the system is properly counting ballots. This is completed and certified before any official ballots are counted.
  • In accordance with Election Code a One Percent Manual Tally of the voting precincts and VBM ballot precincts is compared to the machine count results. The precincts are randomly selected the day after Election Day.
  • Additional precincts are included to ensure every contest is audited.
  • The combination of the Logic and Accuracy Test and the One Percent Manual Tally during the canvass subjects the tabulation system to two audits, one before and one after Election Day.

Transparency: Observers Welcomed

  • All election processes and procedures are open to the public for observation.
  • Schedule a tour​ or email for more specific information.​