Department of Elections Encourages Voters Who Vote by Mail to Check The Status of Their Ballots

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

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Saturday, October 22, 2016 –The Department of Elections advises voters to use the Vote-by-Mail Ballot Status Lookup Tool on to track their vote-by-mail ballots as they move through the following nine steps of the election process:

  1. The voter’s request for a vote-by-mail ballot is processed
  2. The ballot is printed
  3. The ballot cards and voting instructions are placed into an envelope for mailing
  4. The ballot packet is delivered to the post office en route to the voter
  5. The Department receives the ballot from the voter
  6. The voter’s signature on the return envelope is verified
  7. The envelope is readied for opening
  8. The ballot is removed from the envelope, and
  9. The Department counts the ballot

If a voter has not received his or her ballot three or more business days after the ballot packet was delivered to the post office, as indicated in step 4 of the tool, the voter is urged to request a replacement ballot by using the tool’s “Replacement Ballot Request” feature. Alternatively, voters can contact the Department to request a “Replacement Ballot” form to be mailed to them.  

If there is an issue with a voter’s returned ballot envelope and the Department cannot count the ballot (such as when the voter did not sign the envelope or the signature does not compare to the voter’s signature in Department records), the tool provides the reason and actions the voter must take to allow the Department to count the ballot. In these situations, the Department will also attempt to contact the voter to explain how to correct the issue. Voters whose ballots require corrective actions will receive a notice that includes various options to provide the required information to the Department. Additionally, Department staff will contact these voters via email and telephone if the voter has provided this contact information. 

The Department urges voters who were notified of the issue with their ballot envelope, to provide the required information as soon as possible, so that the issue can be corrected in time for their ballot to be counted.

Voters who prefer to call instead of going online to check the status of their vote-by-mail ballots may contact the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375. Voters may also write to or visit the Department’s office in City Hall, Room 48.

To date, the Department of Elections has received nearly 38,000 voted ballots, which represents 12% of the total number of ballots issued. Various reports with information on how many vote-by-mail ballots were issued, received, accepted (to be counted), and challenged (awaiting voters’ actions) are available on the Department’s eData Tool.


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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