Election FAQs

When are final results available?

Under no circumstances will San Joaquin County, or any county, have final results on election night. The media sometimes “calls a race” when it appears statistically likely a candidate is going to win an election, but these are informed opinions, not binding law.

California law requires that election officials from each county must certify the official final results within 30 days. The California Secretary of State (SOS) accumulates these certified results to create the certified results for the entire State.

Can we expedite counting for close races or give a total number of ballots remaining to be counted for a close race?

No. California Elections Code specifies the requirements of the tasks of the canvass. The canvass of the votes ensures every eligible ballot is counted and counted accurately. There is a methodical process for meeting those requirements, and that process does not provide for changing procedures mid-stream without following the established code. It would just slow the process down even further.

The ROV does not provide special reports or a breakdown of unprocessed ballots for individual contests or geographical areas. An unprocessed ballot report, also known as “ballots remaining to be counted” is updated on the County website whenever results are updated. The report is a raw count of all ballots countywide and not specific to a district.

The SOS also has information about the unprocessed ballots for all the counties in California at: https://electionresults.sos.ca.gov/unprocessed-ballots-status.

What does it mean when we say 100% of precincts have reported?

A “Precinct” describes the geographical location and polling place where you and your neighbors are assigned to vote. When the ballot boxes from all of the precincts are returned and counted on election night, counties will report “100% precincts reported.”

Since Vote-by-Mail, is used by 90% of the voters, fewer and fewer ballots are cast at the polls on Election Day. In a traditional election, San Joaquin County reports the results of the early returns of the Vote-by-Mail ballots right after the polls close, before precinct ballots are counted.

What is the official canvass? The “official canvass” is the public process of processing and tallying all ballots received in an election, including, but not limited to, ballots voted in person, provisional ballots and Vote-by-Mail ballots not included in the semifinal election night results. The official canvass also includes the process of examining all election materials returned from Polling Places, reconciling ballot inventory and voter participation history, processing conditional voter registration provisional ballots, and performance of the post-election manual tally, which is an audit to ensure the ballots were counted accurately. The canvass concludes with the certification of the results.
What does voter turnout mean? Voter turnout is the number of ballots counted and reported on our website as a percentage of the number of registered voters. As more ballots are counted, the turnout number and turnout percentage increases.
How many ballots are left to be counted? For the most updated information on votes left to be counted, visit  www.sjcrov.org to see the results and the unprocessed ballot report.
When will we know for sure who won? When all of the votes cast have been counted and the Election has been certified by the County Registrar of Voters, the election is over and the final results will be known. This should occur within 30 days. Until then, any reported results are still unofficial because we are still counting votes.
Is the Vote-by-Mail system secure?

Vote-by-Mail is secure and this is accomplished through checks-and-balances required by Elections Code, voting system use procedures, and statewide best practices and County procedures.

What is ballot duplication? A ballot may be determined to need duplication during ballot inspection when it has identifying information, is damaged or otherwise unreadable.
Who can register to vote?

You can register to vote and vote if you are:

  • A United States citizen and a resident of California,
  • 18 years old or older on Election Day,
  • Not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony, and
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court.
What is the deadline to register to vote? The deadline to register to vote is 15 days prior to Election Day. Voters can register and vote on the same day by visiting any Polling Place - including the Registrar of Voters' office.
What is a Conditional Voter Registration? Same day Conditional Voter Registration is available for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote. Voters can register to vote before 8 p.m. on Election Day and vote the same day. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.
Am I automatically registered to vote when I submit the online application? No. The information you submitted must first be verified by your county elections official.
What if my name, address, or political party affiliation changes? You must re-register to vote if any of this information has changed.
What if I just moved, do I have to re-register? Yes, ballots are not forwarded in the mail. You can re-register to vote in person at any Polling Place and get a ballot at the same time.
How do I know if I'm registered to vote? You can check the status of your voter registration at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov or 209-468-VOTE (8683).
Is voter registration information confidential? The California Administrative Code allows members of the public to purchase a copy of the voter file only for political, election, scholarly, journalistic or governmental purposes. Information about your address and contact information is available in that voter file data. Some information, like your name, party affiliation, voter participation history, and jurisdiction of residence is available to the general public.
Are voter registration applications available in languages other than English? Yes, forms are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Ilocano, Urdu, Khmer, Hmong, Laotian, Tagalog, Punjabi, and Vietnamese. Telephone-based interpreter services will be provided at every in-person voting location. This service includes 24/7 access to telephone-based interpreters, allowing election officials to assist voters in their native language. This service is available now and can be used by any county elections official, including their support staff and volunteers.
What if I have not received my Vote-by-Mail ballot? Please call the Registrar of Voters office at (209) 468-2890 immediately to request another ballot to be mailed.
Do I have to Vote-by-Mail? Voters have the option of voting-by-mail, at one of the Official Ballot Drop Box locations or voting in person at any Polling Place throughout the County. Official Ballot Drop Box locations can be found  here. Polling Places will be open 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Election Day.
Do I have to mail my ballot in? No. You can drop your ballot off at one of the  official drop box locations throughout the County or take it to a Polling Location.
How much is postage to return my ballot? There is no cost for postage. All ballots include a postage paid-return envelope.
When is the last day to vote? The last day to vote is Election Day. Voters who are in line at a Polling Place, Official Ballot Drop Box or Drive-Up Democracy location before 8 p.m. will be allowed to cast their ballots. All mailed ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received within 7 days after Election Day will be counted.
What hours are Polling Locations? Polling Locations are open from 7 AM to 8 PM on Election Day.
Am I required to wear a mask at a Polling Place? NO
Is identification required to vote? If you are a first-time voter for a federal election you will be asked to show some type of ID. Any document with your name and address is sufficient. You will only be asked for an ID the first time you vote. Once you verify the information you will never be asked to show an ID to vote again.
Can I vote online? No
What is Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail? All voters can use a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail Ballot to safely vote at home. Ballots are compatible with screen-reader technology for voters with disabilities. Once the ballot is marked, it needs to be printed out and returned to the Registrar of Voters' Office. Ballots cannot be submitted online or by email.
When is a Provisional Ballot used? A Provisional ballot is used when the voter believes they are registered to vote even though their name is not on the official list. They received their ballot in the mail and do not have it to surrender and the elections official is unable to verify that they have not returned their vote-by-mail ballot. Your provisional ballot will be counted after elections officials have confirmed that you are registered to vote in that county and you did not already vote in that election.
I damaged or misplaced my ballot. Can I get another one? Yes. You can get a replacement ballot at any in-person voting location, or by calling the Registrar of Voters' Office.
What if I forgot to sign my Vote-by-Mail ballot? We will mail you a letter entitled "Unsigned Ballot Envelope Statement". You have until 5:00 PM two days before the ROV certifies the election to return the signed document.
I lost my envelope for my Vote-by-Mail ballot, how can I send in my ballot? We can send you a replacement envelope, or you can pick one up at the main Registrar of Voters office or at a Polling Place. Call (209) 468-2890.
My child is away at school. Can I pick up their ballot? You may pick up their ballot and must sign an affidavit stating you are authorized to do so.
How can I tell if my ballot is counted? You can sign up at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov for alerts by text (SMS), email, or voice call on status of your Vote-by-Mail ballot. You may also call the County’s Voter Hotline at 209-468-VOTE (8683).
Updated February 08, 2024